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What Is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance?

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What Is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance?

About 92% of the population is enrolled in a health insurance plan. Not many people fully understand their coverage. It’s confusing with terms like deductible, out of pocket costs, and co-pays.

There are a lot of things that are misunderstood about health insurance each year, especially during the open enrollment period.

What is open enrollment? Read on to learn what open enrollment is and how you can make sure you have health insurance coverage for 2021.

What Is Open Enrollment?

When is open enrollment? It depends on your health insurance provider. If you’re enrolled through the Affordable Care Act’s health exchange, open enrollment is between November 1, 2020, and January 15, 2021.

You have to enroll in a plan by December 15, 2020, for coverage to start on January 1, 2021. You can still enroll in a plan after December 15, your coverage won’t begin until February 1, 2021.

People that have health insurance through their employer usually have an open enrollment period as well. This is towards the end of the year. You can use this time to check your health insurance coverage and make any changes to your plan as needed.

You’ll need to check with your employer to find out more specifics about your open enrollment period.

Applying for Health Insurance Outside of Open Enrollment

What happens if you miss the open enrollment deadline or you lose your health insurance coverage during the year? If you miss the open enrollment period, then you’re unable to apply for coverage. You may be able to qualify for a short-term health insurance plan.

There is a Special Enrollment Period for people who have major life changes during the year. A significant change in income, moving to another zip code, losing current coverage, having a baby, or getting married or divorced are qualifying life events.

You can apply for health insurance coverage and get the coverage you need.  

Does COBRA Have Open Enrollment?

COBRA insurance is a different animal. COBRA ensures that people who lose their job-based insurance plan can continue it. They just have to pay the full amount of the premium instead of splitting the cost with their employer.

COBRA does have an open enrollment period, which will be the same as everyone else’s open enrollment period at your former job.

Your ex-employer should notify you about the open enrollment period. You can make changes to your health care plan, such as add or remove dependents.

Don’t Miss Open Enrollment for Health Insurance

If you want to make sure that you have health insurance coverage, you need to apply during open enrollment. What is open enrollment? This is the period when health insurance companies accept new customers.

For you, open enrollment is a chance to shop around for the right health care plan to meet your needs. This period is usually the last 6-8 weeks of the year.

Do you want to know how you can stay healthy with or without health insurance coverage? Check out the Health section of this site for great tips.

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