Yes, for many Americans, ’tis the season for health insurance sign-up. Typically, we fall into one of three categories.
- Coverage through Medicare (or some other government program)
- We buy our own insurance
- Or our employer offers health coverage
I put together this quick video of Open Enrollment dates.
Health Insurance Sign-up Dates
Not So Simple
We all know our health coverage system is not that simple. So, you may not find your scenario here.
However, if you do meet one of the three categories, the following are the open enrollment dates (without the music).
These dates apply to people who have already signed up for Medicare. To renew or change your coverage, you need to do so during open enrollment.
Most carriers will automatically renew your coverage. However, premiums and plan provisions change. I recommend you at least review the 2018 coverage to see if it’s what you want.
- Open enrollment runs from October 15, 2017 through December 7, 2017
- Coverage is effective January 1, 2018
If you are new to Medicare, the National Council on Aging has information on its My Medicare Matters site. You can also check out my series on Medicare, starting with Medicare Basics: If There is Such a Thing.
Buy Your Own Insurance
I’ve admitted I’m biased. As a licensed insurance agent (who no longer sells or services insurance), I recommend using a qualified agent or broker. You may have heard ~
Health insurance is complicated.
A good agent can help you wade through the jargon and confusion. If you enroll at the federal insurance marketplace (Healthcare.gov) or at a state insurance marketplace (see list), the following are important dates.
- Open enrollment runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017 for most marketplaces
- The above is a much shorter period than past years for enrollment so don’t miss out
- However, some states extended the open enrollment period (see this article for specific states and dates)
Your Employer Offers Insurance
This answer is simple. Ask your employer.
While many employers offer health coverage that renews in January, others renew throughout the year. Additionally, the size of the employer makes a huge difference in scheduling the open enrollment period.
If your employer has a human resources (HR) department, they are probably the ones to ask. If you’re too small for an HR department, ask the person who handles the insurance.
Health Insurance Sign-up Signing Off
If your open enrollment period is NOW, put this task ahead of your holiday shopping list. If you don’t, there are no simple returns.
May the force be with you.
Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.