Buying health insurance is one thing; activation is another. However, the internet provides a way to avoid unexpected costs by knowing when your plan is active.
Here you will learn the process of checking your health insurance status online, find out how the waiting period for all forms of insurance such as work-sponsored, short-term, Medicare, Medicaid and COBRA. Also discover how short-term plans can help bridge the coverage gap.
You can simply head over to the federal marketplace, log into your account, check your coverage summary under your application and coverage. Here, you will find all pertinent information such as the day you applied for health insurance and the day your coverage started.
This article draws from reputable sources such as the Affordable Care Act, The Federal Health Insurance Marketplace, numerous state Department of Insurance, the Medicare and Medicaid sites. This is to ensure that you have the right information when purchasing health insurance and are never left without coverage
What Is The Process Required To Check If Your Health Insurance Is Active Online?
The moment you get a Marketplace health insurance plan, you will have to pay an initial premium to the health insurance provider. Doing this signals the start of your healthcare coverage.
- If your payment has already been made, you will have to use the following process to check if your health insurance policy is active online:
- Head to the HealthCare.gov site
- Log into your account
- Under your name, there is a dropdown menu. Search for “my applications & coverage and select it.
- The dropdown menu will provide you with a summary of your health insurance coverage. Here, you can know the day your coverage began. This depends on when you switched plans or enrolled.
- If you are unable to view the summary, or perhaps you aren’t finished enrolling, you have to call your health insurance provider. Only they can confirm if you have an active health insurance policy.
Typically, when you enrol in a health insurance plan regardless of the method, your health insurance provider will forward a membership package to you. This package consists of a health insurance card and enrollment items.
On getting the package, review the enrollment items and read the terms and conditions. This will help you know what medical facilities are within your provider’s network. You can use the card to gain access to healthcare services, so it must be kept safe.
What Happens If You Miss Your Premium Payment?
You have to pay your monthly premium to your health insurance provider by the due date given. Should you miss a payment, this could cause your health insurance provider to void your coverage.
However, before this is done, your health insurance company, in fact, most health insurance companies, will give you a short period to make your premium payment. This period is known as the grace period.
The grace period given by your health insurance provider is usually, at most, 3 months. There are, however, some caveats to this.
- Your health insurance policy has to be from a Marketplace
- You are eligible for advance premium tax credit payments
- You have already paid a minimum of a year’s worth of premiums during your benefit year.
If you don’t fulfill any of these requirements, you will have a different grace period. In that case, speak with the Department of Insurance in your state to find out how long your state’s grace period is.
When Does The Grace Period Start?
Generally, the 90 day or three month grace period begins the first month you miss your premium payment. This is also true even if you resume payments the next month.
For instance, if you miss your payment for June and submit expenses for July and August without paying for June. This means your grace period ends August 31st, which is 90 days from June 1st.
What Happens At The End Of Your Grace Period?
It would help if you attempted to pay any outstanding premiums you have during your grace period. Failure to do so could cause your health insurance provider to terminate your coverage.
How Long Does The Waiting Period Last When You Sign up For Health Insurance?
The waiting period typically varies depending on when you purchased your health insurance policy and how. If you purchase health insurance from a Marketplace, either state or federal, your waiting period could be any of the following:
- Immediately: this kicks in only if you have undergone a life-altering event like marrying, giving birth, adopting or moving to a different zip code. You must check the list of approved life-altering events on the federal marketplace, so you aren’t caught unaware.
- The first day of the next month: this time only applies if you enrol for a health insurance plan earlier than a week and a half from the next month. For instance, if you purchase health insurance on the 14th of November, your coverage will begin on the 1st of December.
- 1 ½ month after your enrollment day: This also kicks in on the first day. However, it takes a month and a half to be activated. Should you register for health insurance on the 16th of February, your coverage will begin on the 1st of April.
Are There Waiting Rules For Employment-sponsored Health Insurance?
With these plans, some health insurance providers impose a one month to 1-year waiting period before your coverage can begin. This means it’s imperative you learn as much as you can about a new workplace health insurance plan before switching or starting that job.
You can do this by contacting your future supervisor or HR. Doing so will stop you from accepting the employment, enrolling in the health insurance plans and then discovering your coverage doesn’t begin for quite a while.
This can create a coverage gap that the ACA doesn’t allow for. Should this happen, however, you should look to purchase COBRA Insurance from your previous employer. You could also look to purchase short term insurance from a private health insurance provider.
How Long Do You Have To Wait For Work-Sponsored Health Insurance To Be Active Online?
Companies that offer health insurance to their workers can actively postpone coverage to a maximum of 1 year. Conversely, your health insurance coverage can begin as quickly as the day you resume on your job. However, this is dependent on the work-sponsored health insurance plan provider.
Fortunately, workplace-sponsored health insurance can be gotten even if you register outside of the open enrollment period. This is because getting a new job or switching jobs qualifies as a life-altering event. This means you can get health insurance instantaneously.
What Do Short-term Health Insurance Plans Offer?
Generally, these plans offer lower coverage and premiums for things like urgent care and emergencies. However, you should not expect much else. Presuming, you have good health, having a short-term health insurance plan can help protect you from any unforeseen injury or illnesses.
Additionally, the coverage for such a plan begins the next day. Nevertheless, there are some shortcomings of this plan. For one, they do not offer any of the ACA-required health benefits found in complaint health insurance policies.
Most importantly, these plans often don’t cover your pre-existing conditions, even conditions that had not been diagnosed when you signed up. Additionally, some states; Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California can penalize your tax return for not short-term insurance.
These states see short term health insurance as not being credible. Short-term insurance aims to provide coverage for emergencies for a limited time.
How Long Do You Have To Wait For Medicaid Health Insurance To Be Active Online?
Your Medicaid coverage typically begins either on the first day of the month you applied or the actual application date, should your application be approved. Certain state-specific rules have to be known, and they are usually explained while you file your application.
If you are still unsure, you can head over to the Medicaid website in your state.
How Long Do You Have To Wait For COBRA Health Insurance To Be Active Online?
Due to its nature, you do not have to wait for COBRA coverage to kick in. By design, it enables you to continue enjoying the health insurance benefits that your work-sponsored plan under your previous employer afforded you.
You should note that you will most likely have to pay the premiums and the medical expenses by yourself, given that your previous employer stops contributing. While it can create a large hole in your finances, you can still be happy in the fact that you have health insurance.
Additionally, you are not in violation of the ACA mandate, which states that all persons should have some form of health insurance. You only have access to COBRA health insurance if you lose your employment and the health insurance that came with it.
How Long Do You Have To Wait For Medicare Health Insurance To Be Active Online?
If you plan ahead, it is possible to get coverage from both Medicare and supplemental Medicare on the very first day of your birth month, so long as you turn 65. There are a few rules to Medicare that determine if you can be automatically registered for it and the start date of your coverage.
To do this, head to the Medicare website and check using its eligibility and premium calculator.