If You Miss The Short Window For Purchasing Health Insurance, You May Have To Wait a While To Obtain Coverage
If you are one of the many Arizonans who do not have group health insurance coverage through your employer, understanding open enrollment is critical. The annual open enrollment period for individual or family health insurance plans may be your only opportunity to obtain or modify coverage for the 2024 calendar year. If this open enrollment period comes and goes without any action on your part to sign up for a plan, you may be out of luck, living without health coverage during 2024.
That is likely a scary thought. Without coverage, any injuries or illnesses to you or a member of your family could cost you dearly. In this time of uncertainty following a global pandemic, not having health insurance is a potential catastrophe in waiting.
Here is an Arizonan’s guide to understanding open enrollment and obtaining individual and family health insurance for 2024:
What is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance?
The first step in understanding open enrollment is learning what this term means.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, there are limited windows for obtaining coverage or changing your health insurance plan. One of those windows – the Open Enrollment Period – opens briefly every year, while the other – a Special Enrollment Period – only opens when specific events happen in your life. If you miss open enrollment for 2024 and don’t experience a “qualifying life event,” you’ll have to wait until 2025 to receive coverage under a qualifying plan.
When Is Open Enrollment for 2024?
The second step in understanding open enrollment is learning when the window to apply for 2024 coverage begins and ends.
The Open Enrollment Period comes near the end of every calendar year, for coverage beginning on January 1 of the following year. For Arizonans, the open enrollment period for health coverage that starts on January 1, 2024, is November 1, 2023, through January 15, 2024.
What Happens If You Miss Open Enrollment?
Another key to understanding open enrollment is what to do if you miss the window for enrollment.
As noted, if you don’t enroll in a plan during open enrollment, you can only do so if and when you have a “qualifying life event.” These events include:
- You lost your existing health insurance coverage because you lost your job, were disqualified from Medicare or Medicaid, or aged out of coverage under your parent’s plan.
- You had a child (including by adoption).
- The named insured on your policy passed away.
- You got married or divorced.
- You relocated to an area outside of your existing insurer’s coverage.
- You became a U.S. citizen or were released from incarceration.
- You started or completed service as an AmeriCorps State and National, NCCC, or VISTA member.
- You obtained membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder.
Who Offers Individual and Family Health Insurance Coverage In Arizona For 2024?
For the calendar year 2024, the following eight insurance companies offered individual and family plans in Arizona under the ACA guidelines. Those insurers are:
- Arizona Complete Health (formerly Health Net of AZ)
- Banner Health and Aetna Health Plan, Inc.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
- Cigna Healthcare of Arizona
- Imperial Insurance Companies, Inc.
- Medica Community Health Plan
- Oscar Health Plan, Inc.
- UnitedHealthcare of Arizona
However, understanding open enrollment also includes knowing that not all of these insurers offer coverage in all parts of the state. So, the availability of plans from many companies may depend on the county where you live.
How To Purchase Individual and Family Health Insurance Coverage During Open Enrollment on Your Own
Those who don’t get health insurance through their employer’s group coverage typically enroll in individual and family plans through online portals called exchanges established by the ACA. Arizona uses the federal exchange at www.healthcare.gov.
If you want coverage with the benefits of ACA health plans, you must go through that site to enroll.
Healthcare.gov is where you can review, evaluate, and compare the individual and family insurance plans offered by private insurance companies in Arizona. By providing basic information about yourself and your family, you can see prices for different plans based on age, household, and income.
How Working With a Local Health Insurance Broker Will Make Open Enrollment Easy This Year
If you are like many of your neighbors, the good result of having health insurance is not worth the effort required to obtain coverage on your own. This includes registering for the website, selecting and comparing plans, and deciphering confusing health insurance jargon.
A big part of understanding open enrollment in Arizona is knowing that you don’t have to figure everything out on your own.
Because health insurance can be confusing and comparing plans can take up a lot of time, many Arizonans choose to work with a licensed and experienced health insurance broker during open enrollment to help them select and purchase coverage.
A broker can take the burden off your shoulders and ensure that you enroll in a plan that is best for your family and your budget at no cost to you.
Where Can You Find the Best Health Insurance Brokers Near You?
Whether during open enrollment or a Special Enrollment Period, Arizona Health Insurance Experts Arizona can connect you with the state’s most extensive collection of independent insurance agents and brokers who partner with the best insurance companies. This partnership delivers the exceptional customer experience all Arizonans deserve, along with the health insurance coverage they need.