Affordable Care Act: Getting covered after world tour

If I’ve been traveling this year outside the U.S. but am returning in mid-2014, can I buy health insurance when I get back?  I read something about open enrollment ending, and am afraid I’m shut out until 2015.


Dear Wandered,

There is a special rule for U.S. citizens who have been living outside of the country for at least 330 days in a 12-month period.  So, though you  missed the open enrollment period, you are allowed to enroll when you return to the United States.  Technically, you are considered to have had “minimum essential coverage” while you were abroad, no matter if you were uninsured or had a plan in place.  Therefore, you are leaving one plan for another.

Make sure you get enrolled within 30 days of returning.  The insurer would not have to accept you three or six months later!

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.