What Is an Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance?

What Is an Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance?

Open Enrollment Period is the yearly time to purchase or make changes to a health insurance plan for the upcoming year.

Health Insurance Sources

There are three health care sources that utilize an open enrollment period. They include Medicare, the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges and job-based health insurance.

When to Enroll

Open enrollment begins on or about the same date every year, depending on the source.

  • Medicare annual open enrollment runs October 15 to December 7.
  • Learn open enrollment availability for health insurance exchanges here.
  • Job-based health insurance open enrollment periods are set by employers. While it can happen at any time of the year, it is usually in autumn and new coverage begins on January 1 of the next year.

What Events to Consider at Renewal

  • Policy renewal is a great time to review major life events that occurred or are anticipated in the year ahead. Life events may affect eligibility, coverage level and/or premiums. Major life events may include:
  • Changes in income
  • Job-based health insurance coverage for any household member (even if he or she hasn’t enrolled in such a plan)
  • Household changes, including
    • Birth and adoption
    • Divorce and separation
    • Death
    • Placing a child for adoption or foster care
    • A child on the policy turning 26
    • A dependent on policy changes status (he or she is no longer a dependent)
  • A household member getting coverage from a public program, like Medicaid, CHIP or Medicare
  • Change in permanent home address
  • If an event occurs during a plan year, Special Enrollment Period is available for changes to a plan.

Mid Year Changes

  • Talk with your local Independant Insurance Agent or plan provider to discuss changes to coverage. If a plan is cancelled without a replacement, larger penalties may apply.

Policy End Date

  • Policy plans end December 31 regardless of source and enrollment date.
  • If you have questions about what is covered or how to make changes, talk with a local Independant Agent.

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Enhanced Insurance is not written by attorneys. If you’re looking for legal advice, you need to contact a lawyer. Further, insurance practices and forms change constantly and are varied from state to state. For definitive answers in your area, contact a local agent.

While the majority of people want an agent involved in their purchase of insurance, many people want to see if they can save money by buying direct from the insurance company. Others want to try a direct quote to make sure the premium they’re now paying through their local agent is fair. If you want a quote for your coverage, click on the competitive quote button on the right side of this page.

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