How do I sign up for private health insurance asap?
May 7, 2015 3:26 PM   Subscribe

I haven't had health insurance ever since the Obamacare thing went into affect. This happened because I was overseas for a long time and I let my us health insurance expire and then I got really confused about the new rules so I just kept putting it off.

Now it looks like I need jaw surgery to fix my breathing issues and headaches. I knew that I needed to get it done eventually, but I figured I'd wait a year or two. Now it turns out that I can't do that and I'll have to get it done soon. The surgeon said that insurance can help pay for my case not knowing that I don't have any. So I'm wondering if I can buy individual insurance directly from a provider like blue cross blue sheild or something? Is that still allowed? When I try I get some kind of message saying I have to wait for an enrollment period unless I'm pregant. Why is this so complicated? I used to be able to just buy insurance when I wanted it.
posted by rancher to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
When you used to be able to "buy insurance when I want" the insurance company was also free to deny your application if they thought you might be too expensive cover (age, occupation, family history, past illness that you completely recovered from). Even if they did agree to write a policy, there would be a wait of many months where they would not cover anything that was a preexisting condition so even though you had insurance, they still wouldn't pay for your jaw.

Basically you gambled and lost - big time. This is why many people say health care should be mandatory/automatic for everyone but that is whole different conversation.

Do check out the list of "qualifying events" and see if maybe you can find a reason to get new coverage without having to wait. (Did you move recently?) If not, Talk to your doctor again and see if there is something he can do to tied you over until January when the new plans kick in.

If not, Then go the the business office and tell them you need the surgery but don't have insurance and see what they can do for you in terms of cost and/or payment plans.
posted by metahawk at 3:44 PM on May 7, 2015 [10 favorites]

The open enrollment period has ended. If you have a qualifying life event, like "moving to a new state, certain changes in your income, and changes in your family size (for example, if you marry, divorce, or have a baby) and gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder," within the past 60 days, that may allow you to apply. There's an online screener.
posted by jaguar at 3:46 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

When did you move back to the U.S.?
posted by barnone at 3:52 PM on May 7, 2015

Here's what you do. You go to The website will lead you either a. to your state exchange if it exists, b. through a step-by-step guide of getting covered. Either your state exchange or the federal exchange website will have information regarding how to contact a navigator. Navigators are able to talk to you about your particular situation and figure out what your options are.
posted by General Malaise at 4:00 PM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Everyone else is on point: insurance has never been a "come when you need coverage" institution. If we had a single-payer system, it would be, to an extent, in that basic insurance would be nonexistent and your status as a resident or citizen would provide care based on taxes.

With the new status quo of required insurance coverage, you have basically opted out of insurers having an interest in covering you. There are life events, as defined by the government and insurance companies, where you can change coverage, but there are limits. Those events, one of which could be the yearly open enrollment period under the new system (which occurs at year end), could overlook preexisting conditions. What you are doing is saying, "Hey, I didn't think I would need medical attention, so I am uninsured, but now I have a pre-existing condition. Please pay for my procedure, I swear I'll buy insurance from here on out!"

Since health insurance is still a profit-making exercise, and it's called "insurance" and not "medical service discount," you are limited to the questionnaire and resource list at jaguar's link.
posted by mikeh at 6:37 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Call the hotline and ask them for advice.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:32 PM on May 7, 2015

Even under the pre-Obamacare system you would be out of luck because even if you could buy a policy, it would exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions such as yours for 6 to 12 months. They could even refuse to cover you at all if you have pre-existing conditions.

Under Obamacare you will be eligible for coverage for your condition from the first day, but you will have to wait until Jan 1 unless you have one of the qualifying events mentioned above.
posted by JackFlash at 7:35 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

The ACA does have other provisions for the indigent or uninsured so even w/o insurance it's not like it used to be. If you can't get insurance call the hospital or doctors office and see if you can get a price on what it will cost. I think shoved in under meaningful use, ACA requires providers to give quotes for common procedures.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:31 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Apply for Medicaid. Even if you will be denied coverage outright, that denial makes you eligible for a special enrollment exemption,
posted by Mimzy at 6:29 PM on May 8, 2015

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