How Long Is the Health Insurance Waiting Period After I Sign Up? – HealthCareInsider.com
There’s usually a short waiting period between when you sign up for health insurance coverage and when your plan actually starts to cover it. but not always. coverage lag can range from a few days to a year. It all depends on the type of insurance you sign up for, from Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) health plans to workplace coverage, as well as what time of year you buy it. .
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If you don’t feel comfortable being uninsured for, say, even a month, it’s possible to get at least some insurance protection for emergencies with a short-term insurance plan.
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Waiting Period Rules for Insurance Purchased During Open Enrollment or Special Enrollment: If you are purchasing health insurance on your own on an exchange, your health insurance waiting period generally begins as follows: :
- first day of next month. This applies when you enroll before 15 days from the start of the next month. For example, if you buy health insurance through November 15, your coverage will start December 1.
- first day of the month following the month you signed up. if you join on or after the 16th, coverage starts in a month and a half. For example, if you sign up for health insurance on or after November 16, your coverage begins January 1.
- immediately, if you have a truly life-changing event, such as moving to a new zip code, getting married, adopting a child, or giving birth. See the federal government’s complete list of acceptable life-changing events at https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/qualifying-life-event/.
what are the waiting rules for workplace insurance?
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With workplace plans, some companies impose a waiting period of 30 to 365 days before coverage begins. Be sure to ask about your new health benefits, including the waiting period, before you start a new job. A phone call or email to HR or your future manager should protect you from going to work, signing up for insurance, and then finding out your coverage doesn’t start for months. If you face a gap in coverage, you may want to consider purchasing cobra coverage from your former employer or a short-term health insurance plan from a private insurer in states where those policies are available.
Find out the benefits and drawbacks of short-term policies before you sign up. In general, this coverage offers low premiums and coverage for emergencies and urgent care, but little else. Assuming you’re in good health, a short-term plan can protect you from an unforeseen serious illness or injury. Plus, coverage can start as early as the day after you enroll. But short-term plans generally don’t provide any of the 10 essential health benefits and many other benefits that are provided in ACA-compliant plans. More importantly, short-term plans almost always don’t cover pre-existing conditions, including, in some cases, conditions not diagnosed at the time of enrollment. In addition, without essential ACA benefits, four states (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island) and Washington, D.C., can impose a penalty on your tax return for failing to maintain what is called credible health insurance. In essence, short-term plans provide catastrophic coverage for a few months at a time for sudden emergencies, such as serious illness or injury from a car accident or fall.
what if you have employer-provided health insurance?
If your employer offers health insurance, you can postpone your coverage anywhere up to one year after you start work. on the other hand, coverage can start as soon as your first day of work, depending on your employer’s insurer.
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You can get employer-based insurance even if you apply outside of the annual health insurance open enrollment period because a new job is a “qualifying life event” that allows you to purchase major medical health insurance immediately.
what if you have medicare?
As long as you plan ahead, you can get Medicare and Medicare Supplement coverage that starts the first day of the month you turn 65. there are a set of medicare rules that determine if you’re automatically enrolled and when your coverage will start. visit the federal government website for details on how to get medicare under 65, https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/get-started-with-medicare.
what if you have medicaid?
If your Medicaid application is approved, coverage will begin on the day you apply or the first day of the month in which you apply. the specific rules will depend on your state and should be explained on your application. If you’re not sure, check your state’s Medicaid website.
what if you have cobra?
cobra allows you to continue your employer-provided health benefits without a break in coverage for a year or more, usually when you lose your job. You will most likely have to pay your premiums and all medical bills on your own, as your former employer will stop contributing, often burdening you with considerable costs. but you still have continuous insurance coverage.