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Open enrollment is the time when consumers can sign up or make changes to their health insurance coverage each year. Once this period ends, you must wait until the next annual enrollment period to make coverage changes, unless you have a qualifying life event. Qualifying events include marriage, divorce, a new baby, moving to another state, and other major life changes.
Many commercial insurance companies are implementing open enrollment periods that match state marketplace periods, generally occurring in the fall in advance of the next calendar year. Employer based plans can choose their open enrollment period at any point during the year, and some insurance types allow enrollment throughout the year, so its important to know when your open enrollment occurs.
Deadlines Do Matter
General open enrollment periods only come around once a year for a limited period of time. Some open enrollment periods last as little as 2 weeks, and some may span more than a month.
But if you delay or miss this period, you will be putting yourself at risk of having no insurance at all, or a plan that does not meet your needs financially or medically.
Give yourself time to complete necessary research, ask questions, and compare your plan options. Rushing and making hasty decisions right before the deadline should be avoided.
If you want to get started earlier, even in advance of the start of open enrollment period, you can begin gathering receipts that help you understand your current costs, and pulling together a list of current providers and medications, to compare with new options.