Open enrollment is the annual period when you can enroll and make changes to your health insurance plan. The open enrollment period is not just for Medicare recipients. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (often called Obama Care), the term open enrollment now includes individuals who have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act as well.
The open enrollment period is the perfect time for you to evaluate your health care needs. This is the time when you should meet with your health insurance agent so that you may understand all the options that are available to ensure your health. Before meeting with your health insurance agent make a list of questions to ask like the ones we list here:
- Can I see a certain doctor?
- How much will my health plan cost me?
- What’s included in my health plan?
- Can I enroll my children?
- Can I get extra benefits like access to dentists or eye exams?
- If I travel, am I covered?
The open enrollment period has different dates you need to be aware of.
Medicare open enrollment: October 15 to December 7
During Medicare open enrollment you can:
- Enroll in, drop from, or change Medicare Advantage Plans
- Enroll in, drop from, or change Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
If you miss this year’s Medicare open enrollment you may have to wait until next year’s open enrollment to make the necessary changes to your Medicare plan.
Marketplace (Affordable Care Act / Obama Care) open enrollment: November 1 to January 31 of the following year
During Marketplace open enrollment you can:
- Enroll in, drop from, or change your Marketplace Health Plan
If you miss this year’s Marketplace open enrollment you may have to wait until next year’s open enrollment to make the necessary changes to your Marketplace Health Plan. However, there are three exceptions you should keep in mind:
- If your children qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), they may be enrolled at any time.
- If you qualify for Medicaid, you may enroll at any time.
- If you are a business owner and need to cover your employees (SHOP), you may enroll them anytime.
- If you are an employee, and your company offers health insurance, check with the person in charge of your benefits or human resources for specific open enrollment dates and information.