Health Insurance for Families and Individuals
The market for individual health insurance coverage remains strong in California, despite the ongoing drama in Washington about the Affordable Care Act. In addition, monthly subsidies to help you pay for coverage are still available and are expected to be available in 2018 (More info below).
Individuals and families can buy health insurance policies during two periods of the year:
- Open Enrollment: Open enrollment for 2018 policies starts November 15 and will run until at least December 15. During the period, anyone can sign up for coverage without going through medical underwriting (aka “pre-existing conditions”).
- Special Enrollment: After Open Enrollment ends and before the next one starts, you have to have a Qualifying Event in your life to get private health insurance. Examples of Qualifying Events including loss of employer coverage, newly relocating to California, having a baby, and getting married (or forming a domestic partnership).
Getting an Obamacare Subsidy
Individuals and families earning less than 400% of the federal poverty line may be eligible for a monthly subsidy to help them pay for health insurance. For example, a single person who reports Adjusted Gross Income of less than $47,520, and a family of three that reports less than $80,640, may be eligible for a subsidy. You can find out if you may be eligible on Covered California’s Preview Plans page – all you need to do is tell them your zip code, estimated annual income, and the ages of your family members.
Is Short-Term Medical Coverage Right For You?
More and more people are buying so-called “short-term” policies to meet their needs. They are very easy to sign up for – you can buy a policy that starts the very next day.
While they were designed for stop-gap coverage (such as being between jobs), these policies have become popular because they are a form of “pure” insurance. Typically, after you pay $10,000 in one year for medical expenses, the policy will cover you 100% up to $750,000 in expenses. You can enroll in a short-term policy right from this website – just click here.
Please note: These short-term medical policies are not qualifying health coverage (“Minimum Essential Coverage”) that satisfies the health coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act. If you don’t have Minimum Essential Coverage, you may owe an additional payment with your taxes. The termination or loss of this policy does not entitle you to a special enrollment period to purchase a health benefit plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage outside of an open enrollment period. These products may include a pre-existing condition exclusion provision.
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