“Open Enrollment” is almost a household word, but that does not mean that it is completely understood by everyone. Pay close attention because here is why the next three months are going to be critical for which healthcare you’ll be enrolling in.
During Open Enrollment, you can enroll in any new plan available for you. By law, health insurance companies may not discriminate based on any health condition. Premium rates are equal for all based on age and the state you live in. Whatever plan you enroll in during this period will be in effect through December 31st, 2018. You will not be able to upgrade or switch plans beforehand, no matter how much you’re willing to pay out of pocket.
The only way one can switch plans in 2018, after Open Enrollment concludes, is if they qualify for a group plan or they lose existing health coverage due to a qualifying circumstance, such as a death in the family, divorce, loss of employment or termination of Medicaid coverage.
It is important to note that even though group plans can commence all year round, the current open season can be very helpful for people who are employed or part of another insurance group too. During open season, you can obtain group coverage without many of the year-round requirements, such as excluding a particular percentage of the group from participating in the plan.
In any case, don’t just sit back and swallow a premium increase. There may be better plans for you out there today, with benefits that better suit your needs, a better provider network and/or more competitive premiums.