You’ve probably heard the term “Open Enrollment.” You probably hear it more in the months of November and December. But what exactly is Open Enrollment and why should you care? We recently launched a partnership with Stride Health to help our sitters and caregivers find ease in selecting healthcare that works for them. So together we’re sharing a short guide to the most common questions about Open Enrollment. (TLDR: the one time of year you can buy or change your health insurance!).
What is Open Enrollment?
The Open Enrollment Period, more commonly known as OEP, is the one time of year that you can buy or change your health insurance. If you don’t buy health insurance during OEP, you will not be able to purchase until OEP the following year unless you experience a qualifying life event. If you already have health insurance, this still applies to you! This is the one time of year you can change your plan.
Who does Open Enrollment apply to?
Americans ages 18 to 64 who aren’t already covered by Medicaid, an employer, their parents, or Veterans Affairs.
When is Open Enrollment?
For most states, OEP starts November 1 and ends December 15. At Sittercity, we’ve partnered with Stride Health to make it easy for you to choose a plan and get signed up.
Which states have extended enrollment windows?
Some states choose to extend the window people have to buy health insurance. Check to see if you live in one of these states and take note of the enrollment window:
- California: October 15-January 31
- Colorado: November 1-January 15
- Massachusetts: November 1-January 23
- Minnesota: November 1-December 23
- New York: November 1-January 31
- Rhode Island: November 1-December 31
- Washington D.C.: November 1-January 31
Why does Open Enrollment exist?
If Open Enrollment didn’t exist, when would you buy health insurance? Most likely when you got sick or injured, right? Well, OEP restricts when you can buy health insurance in order to maintain a needed balance for health insurance companies. By constraining the time period in which you can purchase health insurance, the amount of money going into and coming out of insurance companies’ pockets remains relatively balanced. This allows insurance companies to maintain a balanced pool of sick and healthy people, keeping the marketplaces stable.
The amount individuals pay in premiums works to counteract the money insurance companies are paying out towards claims. If people could sign up for insurance at any point, this balance wouldn’t exist and would cause an unhealthy disruption within the health insurance industry.
What if I already have a plan from last year?
If you purchased health insurance during last year, you will be automatically re-enrolled for next year. Sounds pretty good, right? Beware—people who don’t switch plans oftentimes see their monthly health payments increase, their prescriptions might no longer be covered, and their doctors might no longer accept their old plan. Many people choose to cancel their current plan and switch to a new plan to either save money or get coverage that better fits their life!
What can I expect for Open Enrollment 2020?
Premium prices are going down. Monthly premiums (AKA your monthly health insurance payments) are declining, on average, by 4 percent! Insurance companies are offering more plans. While some insurers (like Aetna and Humana) will not offer Obamacare plans, many insurers are expanding their reach to new zip codes. This means you may have access to more plan options than you did last year! You will still get just as much value from your plan.
Plans will continue to cover all the essential health benefits you’d look for in a health plan. Plans are required to continue covering things like emergency services, preventative care, prescription drugs, and more.
Where can I buy my health insurance?
While you can buy health insurance directly from the federal or state exchanges, our Sittercity partnership with Stride makes the whole process a lot easier. They’ll recommend the best health insurance plan for you based on your specific needs and help you find subsidies that will lower your health insurance costs—all in 10 minutes or less.