Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Just moved? You can buy health insurance

Susan Barbee,  who moved to Charlotte from California in February,  called to ask if she has lived here long enough to buy health insurance on the federal marketplace.  She still has her car registered in California,  and wondered if she needed to switch that before she can get insurance here.

There's no waiting period,  and paperwork on a car shouldn't be an issue.  Newcomers can buy insurance in their new market as soon as they move; all that's needed is a permanent home address  (read more here).

In fact,  Barbee didn't need to wait until 2015 open enrollment started last month.  Any time you move into a new market  --  and that can mean simply crossing county lines  --  you're eligible to apply for a subsidy and buy insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange. Once you've bought insurance,  be sure to go back to and enter your new address if you move;  it may change your options.

Meanwhile,  the clock is ticking for 2015.  Dec. 15 is the deadline to select coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1.  That includes not just first-time buyers but people who want to make changes to their 2014 policies.  I've reported before that it's smart for everyone who already has a policy to check out the new options;  read more about the hazards of health-insurance inertia from the New Yorker's James Surowiecki.