Time is Running Out

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Lindeen reminds: National health insurance open enrollment period ends March 31

HELENA, Mont. – Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen urged Montanans still needing health insurance to take note: The last day to buy health insurance for this year is less than one week away.

“If you haven’t bought health insurance for 2014 and you want it, you need to act fast,” Lindeen said.“The last day to buy insurance in the individual market is next Monday. Barring some major change in your life, you will not be able to buy insurance beyond March 31.”

The Affordable Care Act – commonly called Obamacare – created a new, national open enrollment period for health insurance sold in the individual market. The individual market is the insurance term for policies purchased directly from agents, insurance companies or through healthcare.gov. The open enrollment period began on Oct. 1, 2013 and runs through March 31. It applies to insurance policies sold in the healthcare.gov website – and all other policies sold in the individual market.

The next open enrollment period does not begin until Nov. 15, 2014 – but policies sold at that time will be for 2015. The last time to buy insurance for this year is now.

Open enrollment does not apply to insurance acquired through one’s work or government programs like Medicaid and Healthy Montana Kids. It also does not apply to health care services acquired in the Veteran’s Administration or Indian Health Services health systems.

There are certain exceptions to open enrollment. A “qualifying life event” can trigger a special open enrollment period. These events include marriage or the birth or the adoption of a child. A medical emergency is not a qualifying life event.