If you’re one of the countless Americans who missed open enrollment last year, you might have also purchased a short-term health insurance plan to hold you over until you were able to enroll in major medical coverage again.
Short-term health insurance plans, while they do start quickly and are priced affordably, do not provide you with the benefits or levels of coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). short-term insurance costs.
There are three things people who bought short-term health insurance this year should know:
1. Short-term health plans don't protect you from tax penalties – Short-term health plans are designed to provide you with an affordable way to receive limited health coverage for short period of time when you’re not insured. But, they don’t meet all of the benefit standards of the Affordable Care Act, which means you could be subject to a tax penalty for being uninsured, even if you’re enrolled in a short-term health insurance plan.
2. Major medical health insurance may cost less than you think – Major medical individual and family health insurance plans can be more expensive than short-term plans because they offer more benefits. But, if you earn less than 400% of the federal poverty level (about $46,000 for a single person), you MAY qualify for a subsidy to lower your costs.
3. Open enrollment only comes around once a year, so get out there and shop - Open enrollment for ACA-compliant plans only comes around once each year. The current open enrollment period for individual and family coverage starts on November 15, 2016 and ends on February 15, 2016. If you don’t buy coverage during this period, you may be out of luck for the rest of 2016!