If you're pregnant, you can get health insurance, with subsidies if you qualify for them, by signing up for a Healthcare Marketplace plan on Healthcare.gov during the yearly enrollment period. For 2016 coverage, the enrollment period runs from Nov. 1, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016. If you find out you're pregnant between February and October, getting health insurance is harder -- but you still have options.
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Private insurers don't have to cover pre-existing conditions -- including pregnancy -- in short-term plans. and outside the Marketplace, plans of 1 to 12 months likely are all you'll find. The Marketplace says that in some limited cases, you can find plans that do, but you won't get federal subsidies to help pay for it.
Special Enrollment Period
If you miss the yearly Marketplace enrollment period, you can get a Marketplace plan if a "life event" qualifies you for a special enrollment period, or SEP. An SEP ordinarily gives you a 60-day window for enrolling in a Marketplace plan. The following events may qualify you under these standards:
While pregnancy alone does not qualify you for an SEP, bringing a new child into your household does. You can get an SEP when you give birth, or if you have a newly adopted or fostered child.
Getting married or divorced. In some states, entering into a domestic partnership qualifies you as well.
Becoming a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident .
Losing your health coverage. if it's because you lost or left your job -- for any reason -- or because your COBRA
benefits ran out.
Turning 26 and losing your coverage under your parents' policy.
Experiencing a drop in your income that newly qualifies you for Medicaid.
If your income rises so that you no longer qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.
If you are in Medicaid, you can apply for Marketplace coverage year round. In states that accept federal funds to expand Medicaid services, you qualify for Medicaid if your adjusted gross income is effectively 138 percent of the poverty line or less. As of this writing, the income qualification figures are $16,243 a year for a single person, $21,983 for two people, and $27,724 for three.
If you live in one of the 21 states that have not expanded Medicaid, you have to meet your state's existing standards to get it.
If you're sure you qualify for a special enrollment period, start an application for coverage at Healthcare.gov. Even if you're not sure you qualify. you should apply anyway. Sometimes special circumstances -- called complex issues -- can be enough to get you an SEP.
At the very least, call a Healthcare.gov enrollment specialist at 1-800-318-2596. It may make all the difference.