Staying Insured Through Every Stage of Life: Tips to Ensure You Have Health Insurance Throughout Your Life
By bonneville on July 13, 2023
This article about staying insured is sponsored by Intermountain Health.
Being insured throughout every stage of life is not just important, it’s personal.
Life events such as getting married, having a baby, starting, or leaving a job, or aging off your parents’ insurance are significant milestones that require the right health coverage.
“When looking for a health plan, it’s important to think about the future, so you can guarantee that you are covered during every life event,” said Alison Thomson, Sales Director for Individual and Small Employers at Select Health.
Generally, individuals and families prepare to renew their existing health plan or choose a new one during the fall Open Enrollment period. However, big life events may create a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) – a timeframe that allows you to purchase individual and family health insurance outside of the standard open enrollment period.
It is good practice to prepare in advance of these life events and understand your options to ensure you get the best plan for your specific needs.
“If you have a life event, do your homework or talk to an expert,” said Thomson. “It may be more cost effective for you to change to a different plan type or consider your deductible options. Reviewing these areas could lower your out-of-pocket costs. And depending on your financial situation, you may qualify for a subsidy or cost share reduction, which could reduce your out-of-pocket costs.”
Examples of situations that could qualify you for an Special Enrollment Period include:
Loss of health insurance
You may have lost employer-sponsored coverage, or perhaps, coverage you had through a parent’s job.
Losing your job can be a particularly challenging situation. However, it’s important to know that if your income drops below a certain level, you and your family may qualify for Medicaid.
To determine your eligibility and learn more about Medicaid, you can visit medicaid.gov or get in touch with the Department of Workforce Services in your area. They’ll guide you through the application process and provide the assistance you need.
Another option to consider is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). If you’ve lost employer-sponsored coverage, you may be able to keep it for a specified time period under COBRA.
It’s essential to weigh the costs and benefits of continuing coverage under COBRA, as you will be required to pay the full premium amount, including the portion previously covered by your employer.
Change in residence
If you’re a student who moved back home, this may apply to you.
When you change your address, it’s important to update your health insurance information. Depending on your new location, you might have different options or eligibility for certain programs. Make sure to inform your insurance provider and explore your coverage options.
Additionally, if you moved to a different state, it’s crucial to understand the health insurance options available in your new state.
Health plan options and eligibility criteria may vary. Research the health plan options and guidelines in your new state and determine if you qualify for coverage or identify what plan may work best for you and your family.
Your health insurance may provide coverage outside state lines, across the country, and even internationally – depending on your specific health plan.
No matter where you travel, however, having your health insurance member ID card with you (or accessible through a mobile app) provides you with valuable information, such as your primary network, additional networks that are available, and your insurer’s contact numbers in case you find yourself facing an unexpected ailment or injury.
Change to your household
If you got married or divorced, had a baby, or legally separated from your partner, you may qualify. These significant life events can impact your insurance coverage.
It’s important to review your coverage and make any necessary updates to ensure that everyone in your household is appropriately covered.
For instance, children may qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a state-sponsored program that provides coverage for children younger than 19 years old. To explore CHIP eligibility and apply, reach out to your local Medicaid or CHIP office.
The reasons you may qualify for an Special Enrollment Period, may vary, so if you think this may be an option, talk to an agent or call Select Health at 855-442-0220.
Select Health agents can help you determine which plan is right for you and review your potential options for financial assistance. To enroll during an SEP, you must do so within 60 days of the qualifying event.
“Finding the right insurance plan shouldn’t be difficult or intimidating. Our Individual Sales team is here to help you find the right plan for your specific needs,” said Thomson.
Make sure, regardless of your situation, that you have insurance coverage.
When you aren’t protected by a health plan, you might worry about getting in an accident or even going to the doctor for routine care. By understanding your options and exploring available resources, you can navigate life’s major milestones with confidence, knowing that you and your family have the necessary healthcare coverage.
Remember, being proactive and prepared for life events can make all the difference in securing the right health insurance coverage for yourself and your loved ones.