You can still be covered. Even though you may have missed the health care law’s big enrollment deadline, you may be eligible for a second chance to sign up.
Here are your five options:
1. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE GRACE PERIOD: This is for anyone who began enrolling in Obamacare, but didn’t finish. For example: people held up by website outages or overwhelmed phone lines or missing information on applications.
2. USE A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD: The government offers special extensions for many problems that might have prevented people from signing up through a marketplace, like natural disasters, domestic abuse, serious illness, mistakes by application counselors and errors by insurance companies. If you want a “special enrollment period,” call the federal call center at 800-318-2596, or your state marketplace. If the extension is approved, that brings another 60 days to enroll. Also, if you encounter certain life events during the year (like changing jobs, getting married or divorced, or havinga baby) you have a 60-day window to sign up.
3. SIGN UP FOR MEDICAID: If you qualify, you can still enroll in Medicaid — there’s no deadline. Eligibility is based on income and varies from state to state.
4. BUY INSURANCE OUTSIDE THE MARKETPLACES: You can also go directly to an insurance company, but it may be expensive. Plans bought outside the marketplaces don’t come with government subsidies.
5. GET READY FOR NEXT TIME: Open enrollment for 2015 begins again on Nov. 15, and runs just three months. That’s another chance to get covered or switch into a plan with subsidies.