When you sign up for health plans, it is important to bear in mind the dates when you can enroll in or make changes to your coverage. This time period is generally known as the open enrollment period. And the dates can be different between those looking for health insurance plans via the individual market, and government programs like Medicare.
For Health Insurance Marketplace plans and individual plans, the enrollment period usually takes place once a year from November till January the following year. During this time, you can compare health plans, switch from a current plan to a different plan or insurer, add or remove dependents, and make other changes to your health insurance coverage. It is important to take advantage of open enrollment to make sure you are enrolled in the best possible health insurance plan for your needs and budget.
This blog post will explain to you all the details about the open enrollment period.
When Is The Open Enrollment for 2024?
Health Insurance Open Enrollment for 2024 starts in November. Here are the important dates to remember:
- Wednesday, November 1, 2023. Open Enrollment begins.
- Monday, January 15, 2023: Open Enrollment ends (extensions may be granted).
- Monday, January 1, 2023: The earliest a plan purchased during open enrollment can start.
Some states may or may not extend their open enrollment dates in response to their residents' needs. It is important that you check with your own state's insurance department for detailed information.
What Types of Insurance Use Open Enrollment?
Open enrollment is commonly used for health insurance, including employer-sponsored health insurance plans, and individual health insurance plans purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Dental and vision insurance plans may also use open enrollment periods. Additionally, some employers may offer open enrollment periods for life insurance, disability insurance, and other forms of voluntary employee benefits.
What is Health Insurance Marketplace
The Health Insurance Marketplace, commonly known as the Marketplace, is an online platform that offers health insurance options to individuals, families, and small businesses in the United States. It was created as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and is also known as the Obamacare marketplace.
The Marketplace allows consumers to compare and purchase health insurance plans from different insurance companies, while also providing financial assistance to those who qualify. You can shop for and compare plans based on income, family size, and location, and get personalized help from trained professionals to find the best coverage options to fit your needs.
What To Do If You Missed The Open Enrollment Deadline?
If you have missed the health insurance open enrollment deadline, there are still some options available to you. If you are required to enroll in a new plan for 2023 or make any changes to your existing plan for the year, you can choose one of the below options:
1. Special Enrollment Period
In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period outside of the open enrollment period. Qualifying events may include losing your job, getting married or divorced, having a child, or moving to a new state.
Depending on your Special Enrollment Period type, you may have 60 days before or 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan.
Later in this article, you will see a list of examples of qualified life events that trigger a special enrollment period. Contact your licensed insurance agent if you experienced a similar situation and find out whether you qualify for a special enrollment.
2. Short-Term Health Insurance
Short-term health insurance plans are an option if you need coverage for a limited time, usually up to 12 months. However, these plans are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and do not offer all the same benefits as standard plans.
3. Medicaid or CHIP
If you have a low income, you may be eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides free or low-cost health coverage to those who qualify.
4. COBRA - Continuation of Health Coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
If you have lost your job or had your working hours reduced, you may be eligible for COBRA , which allows you to continue your employer-sponsored health coverage for up to 18 months after you leave your job. However, you will need to pay the full premium.
5. Private Insurance
You can always purchase a private health insurance plan outside of the open enrollment period. Keep in mind that these plans may be more expensive, and you may have to go through a medical underwriting process.
What is a Qualifying Life Event?
There are 4 basic types of qualifying life events. Below are EXAMPLES of life event commonly experienced by consumers:
1. Loss of health coverage
- Losing existing health coverage, including job-based, individual, and student plans
- Losing eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP
- Turning 26 and losing coverage through a parent’s plan
2. Changes in household
- Getting married or divorced
- Having a baby or adopting a child
- Death in the family
3. Changes in residence
- Moving to a different ZIP code or county
- A student moving to or from the place they attend school
- A seasonal worker moving to or from the place they both live and work
- Moving to or from a shelter or other transitional housing
4. Other qualifying events
- Changes in your income that affect the coverage you qualify for
- Gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
- Becoming a U.S. citizen
- Leaving incarceration (jail or prison)
- AmeriCorps members starting or ending their service
What are the Enrollment Periods for Medicare?
This enrollment period for Medicare is from October 15 through December 7 each year.
Coverage begins the following January 1. For people who are new to Medicare, the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) - is the very first chance you sign up Medicare. IEP last for 7 months long, starting 3 months before you turn 65, and ending 3 months after the month you turn 65.
Avoid the penalty - If you miss your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period, you may have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B coverage. The penalty goes up the longer you wait. You may also have to pay a penalty if you have to pay a Part A premium, also called “Premium-Part A.” Check with your licensed insurance agent to understand more and avoid any unnecessary penalties.
It's important to remember that going without health insurance can be costly in the long run, as you may be responsible for paying for all of your medical expenses out of pocket.
If you are unsure of your options or need assistance, reach out to a licensed insurance agent at EASY Insurance Plans and we will provide you with all information you need for comparing plans and prices, find you the plans that best suit you and your family, and guide you through the enrollment process.
Get Yourself Ready For Open Enrollment for 2024
Similarly, if you need assistance navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace, or a licensed insurance agent to explain to you details of the plans and their benefits, as well as toher government healthcare benefits available for your current and future needs, EASY Insurance Plans can also help to answer all these questions.
An example is if you or someone in your family is approaching the age of 65, you or they will be eligible for Medicare, Medicare is also available to people with certain types of disabilities or medical conditions.
In some cases, you may want to purchase secondary insurance for some items not covered by your Medicare benefits. There are many different insurance companies offering Medicare policies. If you are looking for an experienced Medicare agent that has your best interest in mind, our agents will be happy to take the time and discuss your Medicare options.
So whether you are looking to buy in the individual insurance market or are looking for the best Medicare insurance plans, we will bring you all the best options and help you make the right choice.