You never can guess what is going to happen to you in this life. One day you might be walking around as healthy as can be, and the next you are hit with terrible news or are the victim of some horrific accident. Thankfully, we live in a society that helps us to achieve stable health care. Although the system might be extremely complex, and frustrating at times, we owe it to ourselves to understand how to buy health insurance whenever we might need it. However, the nature of the health insurance you will be able to get depends entirely on the period in which you buy it.

In this list, we are going to start with the easiest way of accruing a simple and well-budgeted healthcare plan, and then inform you of the other, more complex ways of gaining health insurance throughout the year. Find out which one pertains to you, and read carefully. Paying attention to advice now could save you a lot of trouble further down the line.

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Open Enrollment – The Easy Way

Open Enrollment is a period every year where you are able to buy or amend your current healthcare plan. It’s also the period where your place of work will make you aware of any changes to the health care plan that you have with them. Bear in mind that this period is the official time where everyone must check and amend their healthcare. The dates that this period falls between this year are November the 1st and December the 15th 2018. Meaning that if you do not sign up to healthcare plan within this time, then you might have to pay out of your own pocket for any treatment that you need.

The advantage of buying healthcare within this period is that it is the official time to do it, insurers payment plans are reasonable and competitive. You can scan the ones on offer and ensure they are the best plan for you. The only downside to this period is that with the myriad of plans on offer, it’s quite easy to get caught up in advertisements and promotional jargon. The most important thing to do is to take a few days out of your busy schedule and really assess the different plans available to you. The little details that are different between them may make all the difference when it comes to emergencies. If you haven’t already, set an alarm or a reminder when the 1st of November comes along. On this day, you can get to work finding the best deal for you.


ACA-Compliant Coverage (Outside of Open Enrollment) – The Hard Way

It gets a bit complex from here. Many people look for coverage throughout the year that complies with the Affordable Care Act set up by Obama. Though this act is being chipped away bit by bit, there are still remnants of it left that make getting a plan affordable for many. This being said, if you are trying to acquire this cover in a hurry, you may be quite out of luck.

If you are looking to acquire ACA-compliant coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period, the amount of time you’ll have to wait is dependent on your situation. If you have a life qualifying event, you’ll be eligible for a unique special enrollment period.

However, you will only qualify for a special enrollment period if you have some form of minimum essential coverage in place. And at the end of it all, if you’re not eligible for a special enrollment period? Well, then you just have to wait for the Open Enrollment Period. Which sends you back to our first paragraph.

With this being the case, it’s hard to work out what you do when faced with an emergency situation. You may not have set up minimum essential coverage, and be left completely clueless as to your options. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans are left like this year on year, which is why they flock to short-term health insurance plans.


Short-Term Health Insurance Plans – A Quick Fix

Short-term health insurance plans provide millions of Americans with immediate coverage every year. Although they are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act, they can help you to deal with emergency situations and unpredictable eventualities.

After your application, the respective insurance company will assess whether you are an acceptable risk for them to take on. If your application is successful, then you could be covered by the next day (unless it’s a weekend).

Of course, the key term to remember is ‘short-term’. Usually, the maximum time it lasts for is around three months. Though the Trump Administration is looking to elongate this maximum time in the future.

What must be remembered about the short-term plans is that they may not cover the specific things you need, such as regular check-ups and specialist treatment. Being that many people that get this sort of cover are in emergency situations, they may not have time, and miss out on the crucial details.


The Conclusion

So to round it up, the easiest way of getting health insurance is to get it during Open Enrollment. All you need to do is remind yourself frequently when coming up to the Open Enrollment period. That way you can take time to assess your situation properly, before jumping into anything.

If you do not do this, then you can try and get ACA-compliant coverage throughout the year, especially if you have a life qualifying event. If you do not have a life qualifying event, and just forgot the date you were supposed to get health insurance, the short-term option is the only route. Look at what short-term plans are available to you and find one that suits you. Although it may be a bit pricey, and the process may be rushed, getting health insurance sorted is an extremely important aspect of a risk-free life.


Disclaimer: Our service is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as financial advice. We help our readers make informed decisions via impartial information and guides. Where appropriate, we may introduce partner companies who can provide services relating to financial products.