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Missed Obamacare open enrollment? You still have a few insurance options

Missed Obamacare open enrollment? You still have a few insurance options
[Photo: Chanikarn Thongsupa/rawpixel]

Despite a federal judge striking down the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) as unconstitutional on Friday, the healthcare law remains in effect during the appeals process. The case may very well head to the U.S. Supreme Court, but for now, the estimated 4.1 million people who signed up for plans on Healthcare.gov will be insured for 2019.

Unfortunately, the open enrollment period ended at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, December 15, in most states. If you’re reading this because life or work got in the way, and you missed the deadline, you’re not completely out of luck. Here are a few options:

  • You can still apply for ACA coverage if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a life event like losing other coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child. In a few very limited situations, you could qualify outside the enrollment period thanks to a Special Enrollment Periods for complex issues.
  • You can apply any time if you qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • Plans that aren’t minimum essential coverage, including short-term coverage, fixed indemnity plans, critical illness plans, accident supplements, etc. are not regulated by the Affordable Care Act, and allow year-round enrollment.
  • States that run their own exchanges can extend open enrollment, before or after the regularly scheduled enrollment period. For 2019 coverage, that includes California, Colorado, Rhode Island, New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and the District of Colombia.
  • If you applied, but your coverage was denied, you can appeal a decision. Download an appeal request form for your state from healthcare.gov.

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