Open enrollment is a specified period of time during which people can change insurance plans and medical groups or that uninsured individuals can use to purchase new insurance plans through the healthcare exchanges that have been set up as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”).
Open enrollment is just one part of the much, much larger Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was signed into law back in 2010. Although the ACA has seemed controversial in the media, many people have benefited from this new legislation in many different ways. For example, over 8 million people have signed up for insurance coverage through the insurance marketplaces, not including over 3 million young adults who have been able to stay on their parents’ health plans until they are 26 years old or the millions of people who have become eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage. In the state of California, open enrollment efforts to increase the number of people with health insurance plans last year resulted in 43% of eligible enrollees signing up – that’s the highest percentage in the United States, but it still means there’s a lot of people who need insurance.
Another key component of the ACA has been the state health insurance exchanges (also known as health insurance marketplaces). These exchanges are websites that allow consumers to compare prices and coverage and to purchase health insurance.
If you don’t have health insurance, open enrollment for Covered California, the state insurance marketplace, runs anywhere from November 15 to February 15 depending on your plan, and if you’re enrolled in Medicare, you can change your plan between October 1 and December 7. Certain employers will have different enrollment periods than the insurance marketplaces; ask a human resources representative when you can change or modify your plan.
Even if you have health insurance, open enrollment is a good time to shop around and see if anything better is out there. Most plans have changed their pricing, so what was right for you last year might not be what makes the most financial sense this year.
No matter what your insurance status is right now, remember to look for plans that include Meritage Medical Network. We are a healthcare network representing our local physician members who provide health care and administer benefits for HMO members in Marin, Napa, and Sonoma Counties. Our expert medical and administrative staff are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the highest quality health care available.
If you want to learn more about open enrollment, you can visit our Open Enrollment FAQs page here. We also hope you’ll visit our website to see why so many people choose Meritage Medical Network for all their health care needs.