Covered California operates as the Golden State’s official health insurance marketplace, where residents can compare and enroll in health coverage that complies with the Affordable Care Act. However, life circumstances change, and there may come a time when you need to cancel your Covered California plan. This post will explain how to cancel Covered Califonia. Reasons for this may range from gaining coverage through an employer, moving out of state, or qualifying for Medi-Cal. It’s a significant step, and understanding the process is crucial to ensure you’re making the best decision for your health and finances.
Important Considerations Before Cancelling
Before you proceed to cancel your health plan, be aware of the repercussions. Cancelling your plan means you will lose your current health coverage, which could be risky if you don’t have another policy in place. Furthermore, depending on when you cancel, you could face tax penalties for the months you are without health insurance. It’s imperative to secure alternative coverage beforehand to avoid these risks and ensure continuous healthcare protection.
Understanding Eligibility for Cancellation
- General Cancellation: You can generally cancel your Covered California health plan anytime during the year by notifying Covered California.
- Special Enrollment Period (SEP): If you are planning to cancel because you want to switch to another plan due to a qualifying life event (like moving, getting married, or having a baby), you typically have 60 days from the date of the event to enroll in a new plan or cancel your current one.
- Open Enrollment Period: If you’re canceling during the Open Enrollment period, you can simply choose not to renew your plan for the following year.
- Coverage End Date: When you cancel your plan, your coverage usually ends on the last day of the month in which you request cancellation. So if you cancel mid-month, you would still have coverage until the end of that month.
- Avoiding a Gap in Coverage: It’s advised to have another health insurance plan in place before canceling your Covered California plan to avoid any gaps in coverage.
It’s worth noting that while you can cancel your plan at any time, if you do not have a qualifying life event that triggers a Special Enrollment Period, you may have to wait until the next Open Enrollment period to get health insurance coverage again, unless you qualify for Medi-Cal or another program that allows year-round enrollment.
How to Cancel Covered California: Step-by-Step Guide
If you’ve decided to cancel, you can do so through your online Covered California account. The process involves logging in, navigating to the ‘My Plans’ section, and following the prompts to terminate coverage. Alternatively, if you prefer personal interaction or require assistance, you can cancel by phone or visit a local enrollment center. The key is to follow each step carefully to ensure your cancellation is processed correctly.
After Cancellation – What’s Next?
Once your plan is canceled, you will receive confirmation, and your coverage will end typically at the end of the month in which you cancel. To avoid any gaps in health coverage, it’s advisable to align the start date of your new health insurance with the end date of your Covered California plan. This coordination will help you maintain continuous coverage and stay protected against unexpected medical costs.
Special Enrollment Periods
Not all insurance changes happen during the Open Enrollment period. Life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or losing other health coverage can trigger what’s known as a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This time-limited window allows individuals to make changes to their health coverage outside the normal enrollment period. If you experience such a qualifying event, you have 60 days from the date of the event to enroll in a new plan or adjust your existing Covered California plan.
Alternative Health Insurance Options
After cancelling your Covered California plan, it’s crucial to consider other health insurance options to maintain continuous coverage. Alternatives may include enrolling in an employer-sponsored plan, securing a policy through another state or federal marketplace, or obtaining private health insurance. For those with lower incomes, programs like Medi-Cal are also worth exploring. Each option has its enrollment criteria, coverage benefits, and costs, which should be carefully evaluated.
When navigating the decision to cancel your Covered California plan, it’s normal to have questions. This FAQ section is designed to address the most common concerns, providing you with the information needed to make informed choices.
Q: Will I face a penalty for cancelling my Covered California plan?
A: As of the tax year 2019, the federal individual mandate penalty was reduced to $0. However, California has enacted a state individual mandate that requires residents to maintain qualifying health coverage or face a state tax penalty. If you cancel your Covered California plan and do not have other qualifying health coverage, you may be subject to this state penalty unless you qualify for an exemption.
Q: How soon will my coverage end after cancellation?
A: Your coverage typically ends on the last day of the month in which you cancel your plan. For instance, if you cancel on March 15th, your coverage would end on March 31st. It’s crucial to plan accordingly to avoid a gap in your health insurance coverage.
Q: Can I cancel my plan anytime during the year?
A: Generally, you can voluntarily cancel your Covered California plan anytime during the year. However, to sign up for a new plan outside of the Open Enrollment period, you must qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event.
Q: What are some qualifying life events that allow me to cancel my plan outside of Open Enrollment?
A: Qualifying life events include significant changes such as getting married or divorced, having a baby, losing other health coverage, or moving to a new area that offers different health plan options.
Q: What should I do if I’ve cancelled my plan but now need insurance?
A: If you’ve experienced a qualifying life event, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for a new plan. Otherwise, you may need to wait until the next Open Enrollment period to apply for Covered California or seek alternative insurance options like short-term health insurance policies.
Q: Are there resources available to help me understand if I should cancel my plan?
A: Yes, Covered California offers resources that can help. You can visit their website, call their service center, or contact a local certified insurance agent or enrollment counselor for personalized assistance.
By reviewing these FAQs and their answers, you should have a clearer picture of what to expect and consider when cancelling your Covered California plan. Remember, every situation is unique, so it’s important to seek advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
Resources and Assistance
If you’re considering cancelling your Covered California plan and need further guidance, there are resources readily available to assist you. For personalized support, you can reach out to the Covered California Fresno Enrollment Center. Our experienced staff is well-equipped to answer your questions, help you understand the potential impacts of cancellation, and explore other healthcare options that may be available to you.
- Phone: Call us at 559-222-4140 for direct assistance. Our knowledgeable representatives can provide the help you need to navigate your health coverage options.
- Website: Explore our website to access a range of resources, including detailed guides, FAQs, and the latest updates about health coverage in California.
- Office Hours: We are open Monday to Friday, from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Feel free to call us for support.
We understand that managing health insurance can be complex, and our goal is to simplify the process for you. Whether you need to cancel your plan or are looking for new coverage, we are here to ensure that you make the best-informed decisions for your health and wellbeing.