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I have been residing outside of the US, but have used a New York State address for certain purposes. I now intend to move back to that same address. I would like to buy health insurance soon after I arrive. According to healthcare.gov,

Most health plans sold outside Open Enrollment don’t qualify as minimum essential coverage.

and

The only way you can enroll in a health plan through the Marketplace outside Open Enrollment is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

One of the "Qualifying Life Events" for a Special Enrollment Period listed at nystateofhealth.ny.gov [WARNING: site access blocked to non-US IPs] is a

Permanent move to NY, or permanent move from one county to another within NY

Does my move count as a move to NY, because I am truly moving and changing my residence? Or do I not get a Special Enrollment Period, because I'm moving to the same county that I already had an address in?

According to the Health Reform FAQs of kff.org,

Most states consider you a resident if you intend to make that state your permanent home. So-called “snowbirds” may own a second home and live part of the year in another state, but their official state of residence is where they spend most of the year, where they pay taxes, where they register their cars, or are registered to vote.

Instead of a second US state, I have been living in another country, so I pay taxes and have registered a car in New York State, even though I spend almost no time there.

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    You might also count under "Loss of minimum essential coverage", since for any month in which you are eligible to use the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, you are treated as having minimum essential coverage. – user102008 Feb 11 '15 at 23:25
  • @user102008 Good point; sounds like an answer to me. I've been a foreign resident under the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion's rules. (I've used the "bona fide resident" test, but am also qualified by physical presence.) My only worry is that I can only find sources of the rule you mention in the context of the penalty. I hope "minimal essential coverage" is determined the same way for every purpose. I'll find out in a few months... – Dan Getz Feb 14 '15 at 14:00
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One strategy could be to time your move in sync with Open Enrollment period. You can enroll in February even if you you move in say in May - penalty might be more that 2 months of insurance payments (got me thinking about planning). And peace of mind is also worth something.

Another strategy might be to move into different state in USA where you can also establish residency.

  • Both good ideas, though timing my move differently would not have been worth it for me. – Dan Getz Mar 26 '15 at 21:00
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When you apply for healthcare on the New York State of Health website outside of Open Enrollment, it asks if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. I selected the option that I had recently moved to NY. I was not asked for any supporting documentation for this, and was allowed to apply for a healthcare plan on that marketplace. My assertion that I had moved was never questioned by the marketplace or the insurance company.

My experience, however, was short, and is only one anecdote. (Fortunately for me, I haven't been able to test it by filing a major claim.) But I was apparently able to get a Special Enrollment Period, with no friction or problems, by simply stating (correctly, in my opinion) that I had moved from another country back to the State of New York.

  • If the facts that the OP had paid taxes and registered a car in NY had been discovered or revealed, their existence would have undercut an assertion of "just moved" to NY. Perhaps the bureaucracy is sloppy, perhaps it doesn't care, perhaps the OP was lucky. – David supports Monica Apr 29 '18 at 18:20

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