Consumers who are preparing to renew coverage for 2019 should be aware of the impact unpaid 2018 premiums may have on their coverage. Consumers enrolled in qualified health plans who receive financial assistance have a 90-day grace period. If a consumer fails to pay premium for October, November, and December, the carrier will terminate coverage on Dec. 31, retroactive to Oct. 31. Consumers who are renewed into the same product with the same carrier will find they cannot effectuate 2019 coverage without paying past-due premiums, and once open enrollment is over they will not be able to actively renew.
If a consumer knows he or she cannot afford remaining months of coverage, one option would be to voluntarily terminate coverage effective Nov. 30, then actively renew before the Dec. 15 open enrollment deadline for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Note this means a gap in coverage for the month of December.
Payment of grace-period months will not apply to consumers who have renewed actively into a different product (for example, HMO to PPO) or with a different carrier.