Open enrollment is a time frame each year when health insurance plans are required by law to accept applications from new plan enrollees regardless of their health history. This also is the time when you can choose to stay with your existing health plan if it is the right one for you. Open enrollment dates vary, depending on the state you live in and whether you get your coverage from your employer, an ACA Marketplace, or another source – but for many people, open enrollment takes place annually in the fall. Here are some key dates to keep in mind:
- Every year, open enrollment for Medicare plans runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. During this period, people already enrolled in Medicare can make changes in how they receive their Medicare coverage.
- Open enrollment in coverage through the ACA Marketplaces will run from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15. California’s open enrollment period runs until Jan. 31; however, to get coverage that goes into effect on the first of the year, you must (in most states) sign up by Dec. 15.
- If you get insurance through your job, check with your human resources department to find out when your company’s open enrollment period begins and ends.
- Enrollment in Medicaid is available 365 days per year, based on need, income, and other state-specific eligibility criteria.
A couple of important points to bear in mind as you shop for 2023 insurance:
- You may be eligible for substantial subsidies to help you pay your premiums. Congress increased the size and availability of premium subsidies via legislation passed in 2021 and 2022. Premium subsidies are only available to purchase health plans sold on the ACA Marketplaces. Start your search at coveredca.com.
- The “family glitch” has been fixed. Now, dependents can qualify for ACA subsidies if family coverage available through a breadwinner’s employment costs too much (i.e., more than 9.12% of family income).
- As you shop, avoid “skinny plans:” short-term health plans, health sharing ministries, and other forms of non-ACA compliant coverage. These products (often widely advertised!) do not provide sufficient coverage OR financial protection.
HFA offers a variety of resources that can help you navigate this process, including an Open Enrollment Guide. HFA will also be hosting a Dateline LIVE “Insurance Bootcamp” on November 14th. Sign up, bring your insurance questions, hear from insurance experts – and then stay for the next evening’s Dateline Live session devoted to the science of new bleeding disorder therapies!
Please be an active participant as you consider your insurance options for 2023! And whether you choose to keep your current health insurance or to enroll in a new plan, READ YOUR POLICY. Check that your providers are in-network; research whether your products are covered; beware of copay accumulator adjusters that limit your ability to benefit from copay assistance. This is critical because the health insurance plan you choose will be yours for 12 months unless you have a qualifying life event that allows you to switch plans.