Health Insurance

Health Insurance Open Enrollment: Making the Most of Your Choices

Health Insurance Open Enrollment: Making the Most of Your Choices

Open Enrollment is the period of time during the year when you can buy Marketplace health insurance or make changes to your existing plan. It’s from November 1st – January 15th in most states.

This is an important time to consider your needs and the type of coverage you want to get. Getting the right coverage at the best price is a crucial step to managing your health.

1. Consider Your Needs

During health insurance open enrollment, you have the opportunity to consider your needs and choose coverage that meets them. It’s a chance to make changes like switching to a new plan, changing your prescriptions or increasing your life insurance.

Your needs will depend on your personal and financial situation, as well as your family situation. Ideally, you’ll find a plan that covers your current medical expenses and enables you to see the doctors you trust.

You’ll also want to make sure that your physicians are in-network with the plan you select. This is especially important if you have any chronic or expensive medical conditions.

2. Review Your Current Coverage

The open enrollment period is the only time you can make coverage changes each year (unless you have a qualifying life event). This is the best time to review your current coverage and whether you still have the right plan for you or your family.

A critical step is to estimate how much you spend on healthcare throughout the year and what type of care you may need in the coming months. This will help you choose the right plan for your needs and budget.

It’s also a good idea to consider your providers and prescriptions to make sure that they are covered by your new plan. Keeping your provider and prescription information handy will make this process easier.

3. Ask Your Employer

For most employers, health insurance open enrollment is a key period for employees to review work benefits and financial contributions. Employees often have the opportunity to switch plans or add dependents during this time.

While most companies schedule health insurance open enrollment during the fall, dates and length of the period vary by employer.

During open enrollment, you can change your employer-sponsored health insurance or buy a policy through the government Marketplace. However, if you miss the window for enrollment, you likely will not be able to sign up until the next year.

4. Compare Plans

Whether you’re shopping for a new plan on your own or looking to add family members, comparing plans is the best way to find one that meets your needs. The most important things to consider are your costs, your provider network and how you use health care.

The price of premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums can vary from plan to plan. Compare these costs to find the most affordable option based on your income.

You can search for health insurance plans online at your state’s marketplace. You can also choose a broker or an online seller that offers a variety of plans from different health insurance companies.

5. Enroll

Open Enrollment is the time of year when people can shop, compare and enroll in health insurance. The period is typically November 1 through December 15; however, employer and Medicare plan enrollment periods may vary.

When shopping for a new plan, be sure to consider the total financial cost of the policy. This includes the deductible, co-payments and maximum out-of-pocket costs.

You also need to keep your coverage up to date. That includes paying your premiums on time.

It’s also important to report major life events such as losing or changing jobs, moving, getting married or having a baby. These may qualify you for special enrollment periods or a lower-cost or affordable plan.