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Open Enrollment

  • admin
  • November 2, 2015 3:27 PM
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Open_Enrollment

Open Enrollment Period for Health Care Insurance 2017

Open enrollment periods are annual windows of time when you, the consumer, are given the opportunity to enroll or make changes to your health care coverage and insurance. During this time you have access to your health exchange, which is the marketplace where you sign up, make changes, or cancel your insurance entirely. It is critical that you take advantage of these times, as the actions you take affect your coverage through the rest of the year.

New policies regarding your health care have recently gone into effect, creating only a small opening when you can sign up for and make changes to your health care coverage. These windows are the only opportunities for you to alter health care coverage, making it a critical time to be involved and informed. It’s vital that you make sure to sign up for coverage during these periods so you are covered and insured through the rest of the year, as failure to do so can leave you stranded without insurance and in the crosshairs of the individual mandate penalty. Don’t find yourself in the stressful and unnecessary limbo of needing care without the proper insurance.

Open enrollment for 2017 begins on November 1st, 2016, and continues for over three months until January 31st. Different plans and prices for 2017 will be made available by late October 2016. Some important dates to keep in mind for open enrollment for 2017 are:

  • December 15, 2016 – Last day of open enrollment if you want coverage to start or change by January 1, 2017
  • January 15, 2017 – Last day of open enrollment if you want coverage to start or change by February 1, 2017
  • January 31, 2017 – Last day of open enrollment
  • March 1, 2017 – Enrollments or changes to coverage start for those who enrolled January 16- January 31

If you miss the January 31 deadline for open enrollment you will not be able to enroll in a health care plan for the remainder of 2017 unless you meet a particular set of criteria for the Special Enrollment Period.

Special Enrollment Period

The Special Enrollment Period offers some options to individuals in situations that might be untimely or out of their control. Some individuals under these circumstances will have the ability to enroll in coverage during the Special Enrollment Period, giving them the flexibility to handle their unexpected life events.  Meeting any of the following criteria will allow you to still enroll even though standard open enrollment is complete:

  • Birth of a child
  • Adoption of a child
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Death of a spouse
  • Loss of spouse’s health care coverage
  • Loss of your own health care coverage
  • Moving outside your coverage area

What if I Miss the Deadline and Don’t Meet Special Enrollment Period Criteria?

If you do not meet any of the criteria listed above, failure to take advantage of open enrollment by the deadline will leave you unable to sign up, change, or drop coverage until the enrollment period of the following year. It is for this reason that you must take advantage of the enrollment period while it is open to guarantee you the proper coverage and care through 2017.

Things to Remember During Open Enrollment

Before committing to a healthcare plan during open enrollment, it’s wise to evaluate your options and what your healthcare costs will be. Be sure to go over your plan in detail to know that it meets all of your needs. Before making a final decision during open enrollment, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are getting the best health care coverage you possibly can.

  • Is your current physician under a plan’s network? Will you be able to visit local hospitals under this plan? Will you have the freedom to see a specialist if necessary?
  • Is coverage available for your children? For your spouse?
  • Are you current prescriptions on the list approved drugs for this plan?
  • Have you read all the material and are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities as a patient under this plan?
  • Are you able to handle your current insurance costs? Does your plan allow you the flexibility and freedom you need? Look for the best and most affordable option available to you.

Don’t find yourself stranded without healthcare coverage in 2016. Open enrollment starts November 15th and you have just over three months to pick the perfect plan. Mark your calendar and be ready for open enrollment, ensuring that you and your family will have the care and coverage they need when they need it most.

Why Use Open Enrollment

By allowing changes only during a short time every year, healthcare companies ensure that everyone is participating in health insurance, regardless of circumstances, which allows the insurance paradigm to function properly. Insisting that each individual buys health insurance regardless of their health, instead of only purchasing coverage when they need it, allows the system to balance out.

Become aware of your open enrollment period today, and make sure you are informed and aware of your health insurance. Make yourself ready to make the necessary updates and changes to benefit you or your family, and don’t be left stranded without coverage in 2017.

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