ACA Health Insurance: Coverage Options for Snowbirds and Temporary Residents

Planning retirement and spending time in different countries can bring about many joys, but it also presents some challenges, including navigating health insurance. In this blog, we will delv into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and explore coverage options for individuals who need health insurance for only part of the year due to temporary relocation or travel overseas.

The ACA, also known as Obamacare, is a comprehensive health reform law that expanded health insurance coverage to millions of Americans. It established a health insurance marketplace, where individuals and families can shop for and enroll in health insurance plans that meet their needs and budget.

Key Points to Consider for Temporary Residents

Open Enrollment Period: In most states, the open enrollment period for ACA health insurance plans runs from November 1st to January 15th each year. During this period, individuals can enroll in or make changes to their existing health insurance plans.
Qualifying Life Event: Outside of open enrollment, individuals can only enroll in ACA health insurance if they experience a qualifying life event, such as losing employer-sponsored coverage, getting married, or having a baby.
Short-Term Health Insurance: Short-term health insurance plans are another option for individuals who need temporary health coverage. These plans are typically less comprehensive than ACA plans and have lower premiums. However, they may not cover all essential health benefits and may have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.

Let’s examine the specific question raised in the post. The individual plans to spend five months in Europe and seven months in the US each year. Since the open enrollment period for ACA health insurance is fairly short, it may not be feasible to enroll and disenroll multiple times per year.

In this case, one option could be to enroll in a short-term health insurance plan for the five months spent in Europe. Short-term plans are typically less expensive than ACA plans and can provide basic coverage for accidents and illnesses. However, individuals should carefully review the terms and conditions of these plans to ensure they meet their needs.

Another option is to purchase travel insurance for the time spent in Europe. Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses, lost luggage, and other travel-related issues. While travel insurance does not provide comprehensive health coverage like ACA plans, it can offer peace of mind and financial protection while traveling abroad.


Navigating health insurance can be complex, especially for individuals who spend part of the year overseas. However, by understanding the different coverage options available, individuals can make informed decisions to meet their health insurance needs and ensure they have access to quality and affordable healthcare.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, it’s highly recommended to consult with a licensed insurance agent who specializes in ACA health insurance. They can provide personalized advice and help you find the best coverage options based on your specific circumstances and needs.

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