Obamacare: when you can drop your plan

What month can I drop health insurance?

Going Bare

Dear Going Bare,   

There are lots of reasons that dropping your health plan at any time is unwise.  But to answer your question: You can go for up to three months without health insurance, and still not have to pay the penalty/ tax.  You drop your health plan by stopping your monthly payments for it.  If you are covered by an employer plan, you would notify your employer.  The employer will have forms for you to sign, and may ask you to verify that you have health insurance from another source.

When you stop paying for your plan — either at work or at home — your coverage will also stop.  You pay for health insurance in advance for the following month.  So, if you don’t pay the bill that is due at the end of January, you won’t have coverage in February.

Keep in mind that you cannot pick up coverage whenever you want to.  If you drop out, you cannot re-enter until the next open enrollment.  Whatever medical bills you have while you are uninsured are your responsibility.  There is no such thing as back dating your health insurance to cover your hospital bills that you had last month.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.