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Need health insurance? You may still have options

Special enrollment periods, Medicaid, a penalty grace period... Counting the ways you can still get health coverage.

UPDATE: 2020 open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act plans runs from November 1, 2019 to December 18, 2019 (at 3 a.m.). Some states have longer open enrollment periods. Check to see if your state does here. Also, you can get more information about how to get insurance here and learn what kinds of plans to watch out for here.

About 11.4 million people signed up for or renewed insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace during the 2015 open enrollment period (which ended February 15th). If you weren’t one of them, or if you need to change plans for some reason, it might not be too late. Here are a few scenarios that could mean you’re still eligible to get covered.

Uninsured and just found out about this penalty thing. If you’ve been uninsured, didn’t know about the penalty for not having insurance, and have to pay the penalty for being uninsured in 2014, you qualify for a grace period that gives you until April 30th to sign up for insurance coverage.

Turning 26. If you’ve been on a parent’s health insurance plan but are turning 26 this year outside of open enrollment, you qualify for a special enrollment period to get your own plan.

Leaving an abusive relationship. If you’re a victim of domestic violence and lose your insurance coverage in the process of leaving your partner, you qualify for a special enrollment period to get a new plan through the Marketplace. And if you have experienced domestic violence, you can also be eligible for tax credits even if you’re not divorced. (BTW, if you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, Futures Without Violence has some good resources.)

Eligible for Medicaid coverage. The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid coverage for lots of people, but not all states have taken advantage of the option to expand. If your state did and you qualify for Medicaid, you can sign up any time of the year.

And these aren’t the only reasons you might qualify for a special enrollment period through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Learn more and check out some other scenarios here or head straight to healthcare.gov to explore your health coverage options.

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