Open Enrollment: What You Should Know BEFORE You Buy Health Insurance

November 9, 2017

One of the main concerns you may have as you’re navigating the health insurance waters is if you can afford what you need – especially amidst the rumors of large cost increases.

Health insurance is a confusing world and you’ll probably need some help along the way to understand what it all means for you and your situation.

Not only is choosing a plan stressful, but you also have to think about the time limits of the Open Enrollment Period, too.

Here are some common questions you may have about the OEP and your costs –  and the answers you need.

When is the 2021 Open Enrollment Period?

The OEP for 2020 begins on November 1, 2020, and ends on December 15, 2020. When you enroll during this period, your coverage will begin on January 1, 2021.

What are my options if I miss the OEP?

If you don’t qualify for the Special Enrollment Period, you’ll have to wait until the next year to enroll.

You won’t have coverage and could face penalties that can put quite a dent in your wallet.

What is the Special Enrollment Period?

This is a time that is outside the OEP window.

There are certain life events that qualify you for this period:

  • Losing coverage.
  • A move.
  • Getting married.
  • Having a baby.
  • Adopting a child.

In these circumstances, you have 60 days after the event to enroll in a healthcare plan. If you miss it, you’ll have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period.

What if I already enrolled in a plan last year?

If you don’t do anything, you’ll be re-enrolled in your current plan – if it’s available.

That can be a big “if.”

Plans change from year to year and not taking any action means you’re essentially at someone else’s mercy.

No one else is going to review your plan and decide if it’s going to make financial sense for you or if it covers all the things for which you need coverage.

It’s always a good idea to talk to a professional and look over your plan. They can help you find areas in which you may be able to save money while still maintaining adequate coverage.

What are my options if I can’t afford health insurance?

Depending on your income, you may be eligible for Medicaid, which is a federal program that provides coverage for low-income families and individuals.

If your income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, but paying for health insurance is still unaffordable for you, you may be able to get government subsidies.

Help in the form of subsidies is also income-based, though the allowances are higher than those for Medicaid.

What if I didn’t have health insurance the previous year?

The law dictates that you must have health insurance coverage.

If you went without coverage for a certain amount of time during a year, you may face a penalty when you file your taxes.

There are certain circumstances that make you exempt from the penalty.

If you think you may qualify for an exemption due to certain hardships, life events, or another issue, talk with an independent health insurance advisor.

They’ll be able to tell you if you’re eligible and may keep you from being hit with a fine.

Get the advice of a pro

When it comes to enrolling in a plan that’s right for your circumstances and your budget, it’s best to consult with a professional.

An independent health insurance agent will be able to guide you through the process, making sure you don’t miss important dates and that you have the coverage you need for your general health, as well as dental, vision and prescription coverage.

There’s a plan that will work for you, but you may need some help to find it!

Get in touch with InsureOne Benefits’ open enrollment experts today! We’d love to help you find a health insurance plan that’s just what you need!

Do you feel like you have the tools you need to enroll in a healthcare plan?

Speak with One of Our Advisors