Think you’re ready to change your health insurance? Although health insurance companies have to follow some rules that limit the time period in which you can change plans, you may qualify for an exception to these rules.
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Before you decide to switch, be sure to read benzinga’s complete guide to what you need to know before you switch health plans.
how to change health insurance: steps to follow
Changing your health insurance involves two steps: cancel your current plan and enroll in a new plan. With very few exceptions, you can cancel your health insurance plan at any time for any reason. however, if open enrollment hasn’t arrived, you may have trouble finding a plan that covers you right after you cancel. Although anyone can get health insurance during open enrollment periods, you must have a qualifying event to enroll in a plan outside of open enrollment.
Understand open enrollment, what you need in a health plan, and how to qualify for a special event period to make the process of changing your health plan much simpler.
everyone is eligible to purchase a new health care plan during the aca’s open enrollment period. Enroll by December 15, 2020 and coverage begins January 1, 2021.
If open enrollment is not open, you can enroll in a new health care plan if you qualify for a special enrollment period. Some of the events that can trigger a special enrollment period include:
If you qualify for a special enrollment period, you have 60 days from the start of your qualifying event to enroll. To begin the enrollment process, please contact the Marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596. The representative will ask you a few questions about your circumstances and help you enroll in a plan.
If you currently have a plan and qualify for a special enrollment period, your representative can help you cancel your current plan and make sure you don’t have a gap in coverage.
If you don’t qualify for a special enrollment period, you have a few options for getting coverage. If you think your denial was wrong, you can file an appeal. If a representative accepts your appeal, you will get access to a special enrollment period.
To complete an appeal, download your state’s appeal form, fill it out, and mail it in.
You must also include eligibility documentation with your appeal form. While this is not required, it will help your appeal go faster.
If you can’t get a special enrollment period through an application or appeal, your next best option is to enroll in a temporary insurance plan that provides coverage until the open enrollment period arrives. temporary health insurance plans only bridge the gaps in coverage; You should not see it as a long-term health insurance solution because it has a number of restrictions that are not found in plans that comply with ACA.
You can also purchase a standard or supplemental Medicare insurance plan to fill in minor gaps in coverage until open enrollment reopens. If you want to learn more about short-term health insurance options, check out our review of the best temporary health insurance plans.
2. what to look for in a new health insurance plan
Before you start looking for a new plan, you should consider what exactly you’re looking for. think about what is missing from your current plan; Some areas you may want to consider include:
- deductibles and copay percentages
- monthly premiums
- mental health coverage
- pregnancy coverage and maternity care options
- drug coverage options
Create a wish list of everything you need in a plan and use your needs as a guide when comparing plans and speaking with representatives from health insurance companies.
3. documents you need to change health insurance
If you qualify for a special enrollment period, you will need to provide documentation to a representative that supports your claims. the specific documentation you need depends on the qualifying life event you’re claiming.
Some examples of documentation a representative might ask you to provide include:
- birth, adoption, or legal guardian status through a birth certificate, adoption record, or court order granting guardianship or a child support order.
- marriage license, including proof of coverage for at least one spouse.
- loss of coverage documentation from your employer or insurance provider indicating when coverage ends. If you lose health insurance because you turn 26, you’ll need some type of proof of qualifying health insurance coverage valid for at least 60 days before your 26th birthday. If you lost coverage because you graduated from college and were in a school-sponsored plan, contact your health insurance company and request a document confirming your plan cancellation date.
- divorce or legal separation papers, including a clause terminating spousal health care provisions, along with documentation showing you had health insurance through your spouse for at least 60 days before their separation.
- if you moved out of your old zip code, you will need to provide proof of your previous health insurance coverage, as well as some form of documentation confirming your new address . this may include a lease or rental agreement, a letter from your current or future employer stating that you have moved for work, official documentation from the school that includes address information for your dorm or student housing, or an official certificate of I know. uu. address change confirmation from postal service.
- release from prison or other form of incarceration. A document from the department of corrections can confirm your release date, as well as any pending parole certificates.
If you have a different qualifying life event, your Marketplace representative will help you decide what kind of documentation to provide.
4. choosing a provider when changing health insurance
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When you complete your application, the marketplace will present you with a “to do” list of steps you need to take to complete your application. You may need to upload documentation confirming your qualifying life event and may need to enter information about your assets or income or select policy preferences. complete all required steps and click “final review” to confirm your new enrollment.
6. cancel your current coverage
If your current health insurance is not through ACA, you will need to cancel your coverage independently. As a general rule, you can cancel any type of health insurance or dental insurance at any time for any reason.
However, you don’t want to cancel your plan before you’re covered by a new plan because this will leave you with a gap in coverage. Call your insurance provider after you’ve signed up for a new plan and request a cancellation. request written documentation from your policy provider confirming that your plan was terminated and when your coverage ends. keep this documentation for your records.
7. make sure your policy is cancelled
For the first few months after your policy cancels, double check your bank and credit card statements to make sure you’re not already paying for your old plan. If your old insurance company is still trying to charge you, send your old representative documentation of when you canceled your policy and request that the charge be reversed.
get the medical care you need
Starting in 2019, the trump administration eliminated the individual mandated penalty that charged fees to the uninsured. however, living without health insurance can leave you and your family liable for expensive medical treatment and care in the event of an accident or emergency. If you’re currently uninsured, take the time today to review your options for coverage—your body (and your wallet) will thank you. If you want better coverage, you can learn how to switch health insurance and get coverage sooner.