So what happens if you do not get health insurance by the Obamacare open-enrollment deadline of March 31 of this year? What if you decide that you want to buy an individual policy on May 1, or June 1? What happens then? You are LOCKED OUT. That is what.
A little known fact is that you will be out of luck. Under the Obamacare law, the only time a person can get individual coverage on or off the government exchange, is during the Open Enrollment Period. There is a small exception to this rule that allows people to immediately gain coverage through a qualifying event (marriage, birth of a child, death of a family member, adoption, divorce, loss of coverage….).
As a result, regular Americans who want to buy an individual health insurance plan will need to wait until open enrollment every year, with January 1 being the only effective date for new coverage. This year, if someone decides that they want coverage on April 2, they will not be able to get it until January 1 of 2015. Next year, if they decide they want coverage on January 16, they will need to wait until January 1,2016.
Before Obamacare this process was not restricted. In most states like Ohio, anyone could purchase individual health insurance any time during the year. Of course insurance companies were free to accept or reject people, rider out pre-existing condition, or impose pre-existing condition waiting periods.
Regardless, it used to be that healthy people could purchase health insurance any time during they year, whenever they are ready, and willing to pay for it.
This brings to mind the old quote “Governments are good at only two things. Creating surpluses of things people don’t want, and creating shortages of things that they do want.”