Options for Late Health Coverage

by Vanessa Jones on December 13, 2013 at 10:03 AM
 Options for Late Health Coverage

For many who want health insurance from Oregon's exchange, and need to be covered by 1st of January have to act quickly. Cover Oregon announced this week that thousands of Oregonians will not get cover before 1st January even after meeting the deadline and applying by 4th of December.

People in the insurance business feel that Oregonians can buy private insurance outside the exchange or buy a short term plan until they can get insured on the exchange. The enrollment period by the federal government is on till 31st March, people can buy either a short term or private plan till then. When Cover Oregon can work out the subsidy options, they can cancel their private plan and enroll through the exchange - said Cheryl Martinis - spokeswoman for the Oregon Insurance Division. "So, really, through March 31, you've got some opportunities to shop and get covered," she said.


Private companies require customers to enroll in plans by Dec. 15 in order to be covered by Jan. 1, even outside of the exchange, Martinis said. Those companies include Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Kaiser Permanente and Life Wise, among others. Others, including Moda Health, PacificSource and Health Republic, are allowing people to sign up as late as Dec. 31 outside of the exchange for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

Jonathan Nicholas, a spokesman for Moda, said it was best if people signed up by December 15th but the companies would allow sign ups till December 31. He added that the processing of enrollments would take 5 - 7 days before people could receive their insurance cards. "We're encouraging people who want to do this to do it as soon as possible," he said. People who plan to buy a cover and then cancel it later once they can enroll in Cover Oregon should be sure of their start and end dates so that there is no gap in coverage.

Galen Blyth, a partner with NOBLE Insurance Solutions in Bend, said for people who are generally healthy and don't expect to file any insurance claims, a short-term plan might be the best route. The premiums are less expensive; they do not cover pre-existing ailments. "They're a gap policy just to get you from Point A to Point B and have coverage, so that in the meantime if something unforeseen happened, it will provide the coverage," he said, "but it's definitely lesser coverage than a full coverage plan." For short-term plans, Blyth said HealthNet and LifeMap are reputable providers.

Oregon's troubled health insurance exchange still does not allow customers to sign up on its website, and just 730 people have enrolled in private insurance on the exchange, according to The Associated Press.


Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)

Tara Bannow, December 2013

Source: Medindia
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