While Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) are open to all who qualify, there are only a few times during the year to sign up. During these enrollment periods, you can either set up an initial plan, make changes to your existing plan, or sign up for a new plan if needed.
While enrollment periods are consistent from year to year, there are differences between Medicare and the ACA. When working with VibrantUSA, we’ll keep you up-to-date on changes to your plan, when to start looking at your options, and other aspects of your coverage to make sure you have the information you need to make the best decisions.
Affordable Care Act Enrollment Periods
Also known as the ACA or Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act doesn’t have as many specific enrollment periods as Medicare. The main enrollment period is held Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. Like the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you are free to make as many changes as you feel necessary.
The Initial Enrollment Period runs from Oct. 1 through Mar. 31. The Annual Enrollment Period is held from Nov. 15 through Feb. 15 while enrollment from Nov. 15 through Dec. 23 allows users to make changes before the plan takes effect on Jan. 1.
Special Enrollments Periods are available under certain circumstances. Each special enrollment period will be open for 60 days from the date of the triggering event. There are specific documents for each event that would need to be submitted to verify eligibility.
Some circumstances that would qualify you to change/enroll in a plan outside of the annual open enrollment period are:
- Adding dependent(s) including birth, adoption, placement for adoption or placement in foster care.
- Adding dependents including marriage or loss of minimum essential coverage (loss of employer coverage for example). This does not include voluntary termination of health benefits or loss of coverage due to non-payment of premiums.
- Address change: permanent move.
- Citizenship status change
- Incarceration status change
- Income change
- Individual has tribal nation status: American Indian or Alaskan Native may enroll in a QHP or change from one QHP to another one time per month.
- National or lawful presence changed
- Removed dependent
- Eligibility for Washington Apple Health
So while there are a few times during the year to start or apply a change to your coverage, almost all enrollments must be done through the Washington Healthplanfinder in Washington State. This software is the only way to make the changes you need to make sure you get the coverage you want.
Choosing the right ACA plan can be stressful enough without the added frustration of trying to figure out an online form, but you don’t have to do it alone. VibrantUSA is very familiar with the Washington Healthplanfinder and will guide you through the process. Whether you can manage it on your own or need help setting up an account, we’ll be there for you.
When you choose VibrantUSA as your insurance agent, you will be receiving unmatched in-depth care. From helping you navigate the world of insurance carriers to finding the best plan and price, we are always working on getting the best plans – at the best price – for our clients.
VibrantUSA also keeps tabs of any changes that might affect our clients at the state level. There are times when a doctor or a facility leaves the ACA, so we make sure our affected clients are aware of the changes. We feel it’s important to keep our clients informed every step of the way on their healthcare insurance journey.