That’s right–it’s open season on health insurance enrollment!
So, what is Open Enrollment? And why does it matter to me?
Every fall, Open Enrollment is when people can sign up for, make changes to, or cancel health insurance plans for the next calendar year. For example, if you enroll in a plan today, you’ll begin your 2023 health insurance coverage on January 1st.
According to eHealth, “The annual Open Enrollment Period was put into place to discourage adverse selection—which happens when sick people sign up for health insurance and healthy people do not. It greatly skews the amount of financial risk a health plan takes when insuring customers. It also helps protect people from the risk of not having health insurance when they incur expensive, unexpected medical care or have an existing chronic condition.”
The open enrollment dates may differ by state, but Utah follows the national standard, November 1st through January 15th.
If you don’t take advantage of the Open Enrollment period, you’ll be out of luck until the following year unless you qualify to sign up for health insurance under certain special circumstances:
- Loss of existing health coverage, including job-based, individual, and student plans
- Losing eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP
- Turning 26 and losing coverage through a parent’s plan
- Changes in household
- Getting married or divorced
- Having a baby or adopting a child
- Death in the family
- Changes in residence
- Moving to a different ZIP code or county
- A student moving to or from the place they attend school
- A seasonal worker moving to or from the place they both live and work
- Moving to or from a shelter or other transitional housing
Other qualifying events
- Changes in your income that affect the coverage you qualify for
- Gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
- Becoming a U.S. citizen
- Leaving incarceration (jail or prison)
- AmeriCorps members starting or ending their service
Open Enrollment periods do not apply to other types of insurance such as dental, vision, Medicaid, and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). These and other types of insurance are available to purchase year-round.
What if I miss Open Enrollment? What then?
If you find yourself in need of health insurance but didn’t sign up during the Open Enrollment period, and you don’t qualify to sign up under any of the special circumstances, what can you do?
Give us a call and we can help you with a short-term health insurance policy. This type of policy provides you with coverage for your health insurance needs and, in most cases, lasts up to 364 days. In a pinch, a short-term policy is a great solution, but most of the time should be treated as a temporary one because there are some potential drawbacks:
- Utah law permits short-term health insurance policies but only allows you to renew the plan up to three times.
- Short-term insurance may not include benefits for maternity, mental health, or pre-existing conditions.
- If you suffer from a pre-existing condition, you could be denied coverage
- Not all short-term insurance is renewable, which means you’ll have to reapply every year. And if you or your loved one has developed a new serious illness, you may not be accepted.
But I never get sick. Do I still need health insurance?
None of us plan on getting sick or injured, but having the right coverage in place can ensure that you receive quality care quickly, which can speed you toward recovery and get you back to work and life. And if your illness or injury is a serious one, the out-of-pocket costs without insurance can be devastating. Luckily, there are a lot of options out there–especially for people that are healthy but just want to be protected against catastrophic injuries and illnesses.
My health insurance plan is just fine. I’ll just let it renew.
Healthcare laws, programs, and options change all the time. Those changes, along with changes to your income or overall health can dramatically impact your ideal health insurance plan. If you already have a health insurance plan but haven’t reviewed it in a while, there may be a better plan for your current situation. A quick review of your plan could prevent a future unfortunate oversight and help you find a plan that more closely aligns with your current needs.
Being proactive about obtaining a new health insurance plan or reviewing an existing one could save you a ton of money and hassle in the future.
So take advantage of Open Enrollment today. As your health insurance guide, we’re ready to help! Give us a call at 801-785-1676 or schedule an appointment.
Talk to you soon!
Open Enrollment 2023
UPDATE: For Utah Health Insurance Open Enrollment 2023, please start by filling out this form.