Answering 7 Important Open Enrollment FAQs

Want to make sure that you head into the next calendar year with the best possible health insurance coverage? Then it’s important to be ready for Open Enrollment.

While this is an important period on the health insurance calendar, it’s often a little bit misunderstood. Let’s see if we can help, by breaking down seven common Open Enrollment FAQs:

1.) “What Is the Open Enrollment Period?”

The Open Enrollment Period (sometimes shortened to OEP) was created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Under current healthcare insurance rules, Open Enrollment is the one time of year when state and federal Health Insurance Marketplaces are open, allowing individuals to freely purchase coverage for the next calendar year.

So Open Enrollment is an important time window when clients can enroll, re-enroll, or change their health insurance plans for the next year.

2.) “When Is the Next Open Enrollment Period?”

Generally speaking, the Open Enrollment period takes place towards the end of the calendar year, for a set period of days.

As of the time of this writing, this year’s Open Enrollment window is set to run from November 1st, 2018 to December 15, 2018. That’s a time window of 45 days.

A few things to keep in mind? Your state may have an extended Open Enrollment Period, which lasts longer than federal law requires. Check with local healthcare resources for your state to see if your state’s guidelines are different from the federal standard. If you have any more questions about the Open Enrollment timeline, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Enrollment Specialists. We’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

3.) “If I Purchase or Renew a Plan During Open Enrollment, When Does It Go Into Effect?”

Plans sold or renewed during the Open Enrollment Period go into effect on the very first day of the next calendar year. So, for instance, if you enroll in a new plan by the Open Enrollment deadline of December 15, 2018, your new coverage begins on January 1, 2019.

4.) “I Don’t Have Health Insurance. Does Open Enrollment Affect Me?”

If you’re in the market to purchase individual insurance for yourself or your family, Open Enrollment is an important time window for you.

Even if you’re searching for individual coverage that is not a Marketplace plan (a Marketplace plan is a plan sold through the government’s healthcare exchange), Open Enrollment is a key time to research your options and purchase an insurance plan for the next calendar year.

During this time window, all of the major health insurance carriers unveil new plan options and update their networks, making it an important time to shop around for the best possible coverage.

Most importantly? If you are uninsured and do not get coverage by the end of Open Enrollment, you may get stuck behind “the wall.” What this means is that you may not be able to enroll in a new individual insurance plan until the next OEP, all the way at the end of the next calendar year.  

Now, there are some exceptions to this: For instance, small business owners can enroll themselves and their employees in a group health plan at any time of the year. For individual plans, however, it can be tough to purchase a new plan unless you experience a Qualifying Life Event (QLE), such as marriage, divorce, losing a job, having a child, and so on. If you experience one of these QLEs throughout the year, you often qualify for a Special Enrollment period, which lets you enroll in a new plan more easily.

5.) “I Already Have Health Insurance. Do I Need to Do Anything for Open Enrollment?”

Already covered? Open Enrollment is still a useful time for you to take stock of your family’s personal health needs, and shop around for better coverage for the next year.

Open Enrollment is a great time to start thinking strategically about your healthcare coverage, for a number of reasons:

  1. Your or your family’s health needs may have changed over the course of the year. If your circumstances have changed, it’s important to make sure you have a plan that still ensures that your costs are minimized, while your coverage is at its peak.
  2. During Open Enrollment, insurance companies update and unveil their plan options for the next year. So, even if you already have coverage, there might be an option available that’s better-suited to your needs.
  3. Networks change during the course of the year. Open Enrollment gives you the chance to confirm that your favorite doctors and other healthcare providers will still be in-network next year.

If you’re currently enrolled in a plan, one of the most important steps you can take is to schedule a policy review with a health insurance consultant like Matt Peebles of the Enrollment Specialists.

During a policy review, Matt can help you:

  • Evaluate your current health insurance coverage
  • Review your new policy options
  • Draw up a customized health insurance portfolio, completely custom-designed to best match your unique needs

6.) “Is There Anyone Who Can Help Me Navigate Open Enrollment?”

Are you looking to:

  • Purchase the best possible individual health insurance policy for yourself or your family?
  • Conduct a policy review, and start the new year on the best possible footing?
  • Get a better understanding of Open Enrollment and what it means?

Then one of the most important steps you can take is to schedule time to talk with an experienced health insurance consultant.

That’s where Matt Peebles and the Enrollment Specialists team can step in and help. 

Health and life insurance superhero logo

The Open Enrollment Period is the perfect time to sit down and talk with Matt. This health insurance superhero is here to help set your mind at ease, and find the best possible healthcare coverage for you for the New Year—whether that means sticking with your current plan or enrolling in a new one. It’s completely free to take advantage of Matt’s consulting services. In fact, working with the Enrollment Specialists will never cost you a cent.

Best of all, the process is quick and painless. Once you’ve scheduled a meeting, Matt will:

  1. Lead a review of your current plan
  2. Help you explore other plan options, new policies, or additional benefits
  3. Empower you to decide for yourself what plan will ultimately work best for you, and help you enroll

Even better? Once you’ve worked with Matt, you’ll always be able to say “I Got A Guy” for all things health insurance. Whenever you have questions or need assistance with your policy, Matt will be there and always ready to help—which means you won’t have to bother with frustrating call centers or anonymous online chat services.

7.) “How Can I Get Started?”

Ready to get started and make the most of this year’s Open Enrollment Period? Here are a few tips that can help:

  1. Get ahead of the curve. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Enrollment Specialists now. During this time of year, time slots to meet with Matt tend fill up fast. The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll be able to know your options, choose a plan, and be set to go when we all head into the New Year.
  2. Gather your important documents and information. Before you meet with Matt (or attempt to handle things solo) it’s important to get organized. Have relevant paperwork—such as information on your current insurance policy, tax forms, employment records, and ID—ready to go.
  3. Have a list of questions and concerns ready to go. What are your healthcare and insurance wants and needs and concerns? Do you have questions about some of the policy changes you might face this year? Think of all of the questions you need to have addressed before you make a decision on your insurance policy for 2019, and don’t hesitate to bring them up during your policy review.

Want to get the jump on Open Enrollment? Ready to say, “I Got A Guy” for all things health and life insurance? Drop us a line today to get the conversation started.

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