If you speak to anyone in the health insurance industry, you’ll likely hear the term “Open Enrollment Period” thrown around quite a bit. Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is the Christmas time of the health insurance world and refers to a time frame when individuals have the opportunity to enroll in a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace (healthcare.gov).1

If you are enrolling in a Marketplace plan for the first time, you’ll do so during this time frame. If you’re already enrolled in a Marketplace plan, during this time you have the opportunity to select a different plan if you decide your comparable renewal plan isn’t compatible with your coverage needs.1

This period of time has changed a bit each year since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, so make sure that you check the dates each year and stay on top of when you can enroll in and modify your health insurance plans. For 2019, Open Enrollment Period for Obamacare is November 1, 2018 – December 15, 2018.1

You Are Not Alone

When you decide to enroll in a new plan, you can either do it yourself or contact a licensed agent, like Health Choice One, to help you through the process. Health insurance can be quite confusing, so if you have any doubt about your ability to understand plans and their details, we don’t suggest going it alone. An agent can answer your questions and provide you with full explanations of your benefits, all at no charge to you.

So You’re Saying There’s a Chance

This is a strict time frame and if you miss the deadline, you may lose your chance to have health insurance coverage for the coming year. There is an exception, though, that may not require you to wait an entire year before enrolling in health insurance again. This exception is a Special Enrollment Period.4

A Special Enrollment Period may be granted to individuals who have a change in circumstances, referred to as a qualifying life event, thus allowing them to sign up for a Marketplace insurance plan 60 days after the event occurs.4 These circumstances include a variety of life changes:3

  • Loss of other health coverage
  • Got married, had a baby, adopted or fostered a child
  • Got divorced or legally separated, which resulted in a loss of health insurance
  • Death
  • Moved
  • Change in income
  • Gained citizenship or lawful presence in the United States
  • Released from jail or prison
  • Member of a federally recognized tribe or an Alaska Native corporation shareholder

If you have experienced any of these situations, visit healthcare.gov to verify your eligibility to enroll in a health plan during a Special Enrollment Period.3 Or again, you can also contact a licensed agent who can help you determine your eligibility and enroll you in the health insurance plan of your dreams.

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  1. Open Enrollment Period. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2015, from HealthCare.gov website https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/open-enrollment-period/
  2. Qualifying life event. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2015, from HealthCare.gov website https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/qualifying-life-event/
  3. See if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2015, from HealthCare.gov website https://www.healthcare.gov/screener/marketplace.html
  4. Special Enrollment Period. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2015, from HealthCare.gov website https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/special-enrollment-period/