Open enrollment refers to the yearly period when employees of a company or the general public can alter their health insurance plans. Employees can enroll in their company’s health insurance plan during this period, and other individuals can purchase independent plans through an insurance marketplace. Generally, this enrollment period refers to all insurance plans, including health, dental, vision, life, and disability. Here is everything you need to know about open enrollment and qualifying life events. Open Enrollment
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When Is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance?

The annual open enrollment period is the time of year when you can make important decisions regarding the healthcare of you, your spouse, and your children. In addition to health insurance policies, many people enroll in tax-advantaged healthcare offered by employers, including health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangement accounts, and flexible spending accounts during open season. 

The federal open enrollment period typically goes from November 1 to December 15 each winter. However, these dates may vary if you reside in an area with a state-run insurance marketplace. For group health insurance coverage, open enrollment periods vary.  

How Can I Prepare for Open Enrollment?

You should start considering your health coverage options well before open enrollment season to ensure you get the best plan for your family. If you have existing health insurance, check with your lender for your plan’s renewal period. The renewal period is the best time to make any desired updates to the policy. During your plan’s renewal time period, consider the following questions about your current coverage: 

After you consider these questions, you may want to downgrade or upgrade your coverage during open enrollment. Further, if you plan to expand your family soon, consider how these changes impact your healthcare needs. 

To make an educated selection during open enrollment season, you should also understand:  

If you currently have health coverage, your insurance provider may be required by law to send you a notice regarding open enrollment. 

When Is Open Enrollment for FSAs, HRAs, and HSAs?

HSAs and FSAs are common because they can help people spread out their healthcare costs and save money on out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. These accounts also offer specific tax advantages that can lower healthcare liability expenses. Understanding the facts surrounding these accounts can help you make good decisions about your coverage when open enrollment period comes.

If you want to enroll in an HSA or an FSA through your employer or an insurance marketplace, you need to wait for the special open enrollment period. However, this period may be different from general health plan enrollment. FSA and HRAs occasionally have different plan years for group health policies, which means you must enroll in health insurance and an FSA at different times.

However, you may be able to enroll in a health savings account throughout the year if you have an HSA-eligible policy and you want to make updates to your current coverage. Make sure you check with your state exchange or your employer for specific deadlines regarding savings account enrollment.

What Happens if I Miss Open Enrollment?

If you fail to enroll in health insurance during open enrollment season, you may be wondering if you have to wait another year before getting the coverage you need. Many health insurance companies offer a 30-day grace period after the end of open enrollment to update choices. Contact your lender for specifics regarding grace period policies. 

If open enrollment season is over and your lender’s grace period has lapsed, you may still be eligible to enroll in health insurance if you have a qualifying life event. While most people are aware of life events such as marriage or having a baby, other qualifying events may allow you to enroll in a health plan or update your coverage. Generally, qualifying life events are divided into four areas: 

If you have experienced a qualifying life event, you generally have 30 days to enroll in a health policy or update your coverage with an existing plan. However, some lenders allow up to 60 days after a qualifying life event to enroll in coverage. Typically, you cannot change your coverage outside of open enrollment season or if you have not had a qualifying life event.

If you miss open enrollment season, do your research ahead of time, so you are well prepared to enroll in coverage next year. Select your health plan now and mark your calendars to avoid missing your eligibility period again. If you need health coverage immediately, you may want to consider changing jobs so you can get health coverage through a qualifying life event. 

Find Health Insurance Plans HealthPlans.com

Are you looking for plan options ahead of open enrollment season? Don’t wait any longer to start researching your health plan options. HealthPlans.com is a marketplace that allows you to compare health insurance companies and obtains quotes from lenders in your state. 

Contact us today, to speak with an insurance broker about the best health insurance plans in your local area.