It is that time of year again, Open Enrollment. But what does Open Enrollment entail? With so many details surrounding Open Enrollment, it can be difficult and daunting to approach the situation alone. Here are a few facts that you need to know about Open Enrollment.
What is Open Enrollment
Open Enrollment is an annual opportunity to update or select health benefit options that will best fit your lifestyle. During Open Enrollment, individuals and employees can enroll in health insurance, make changes to their coverage, or cancel their coverage. Individual market consumers can drop their coverage anytime, but this is not the case with employer sponsor coverage. Failure to sign up for Open Enrollment can lead to the inability to sign up for health insurance until the following year.
When is Open Enrollment?
The dates for Open Enrollment depend on if you have Medicare, have job-based health insurance, or are purchasing health insurance from the independent market. These dates are as follows:
Open Enrollment for Medicare 2020 occurs between 10-15-19 and 12-07-19.
Open Enrollment for job-based health insurance depends on the employer and can occur at any time of year.
Open Enrollment for the individual health insurance market occurs between 11-01-19 and 12-15-19.
Is Open Enrollment required?
Under the Affordable Care Act, it was required that everyone sign up for health insurance. As of 2019 that is no longer the case. Many people get health care through their employers. Those on Medicare often need assistance due to age or health concerns. The Open Enrollment period is especially important for those who do not have health insurance through a job or Medicare.
Experts suggest that you sign up for the market place exchange in your state, which may qualify for tax subsidies to help pay monthly premiums. Qualifying depends on family size and income. To qualify, an individual’s family income must fall between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
Which health care plan is the best?
There are 4 levels of coverage to choose from including Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum. The Bronze levels have the highest deductibles and copays and the Platinum level has the lowest. Several considerations should be made when choosing a plan. For instance, how often do you frequent a physician? Do you have a chronic disease or condition? How expensive is your medication? If you are in the frequent use of medical services, you may want a plan with a smaller copay. If you are young, healthy, and do not go to the physician as often, you will probably want to choose a plan with a lower premium. It is important to keep in mind that you can not change your plan during Open Enrollment. Typically, the most popular plan on the market is Bronze.