What happens during annual and open enrollment?
If your employer provides health insurance, during annual and open enrollment 2021 you might be offered a new plan option, a new insurance provider, a higher-deductible insurance plan or new supplemental insurance plans, such as hospital indemnity or critical illness insurance coverage.
Some employers offer more choices during open enrollment than others; many employers may prefer to stay with the same insurance provider and continue offering a similar range of options.
Many employers offer benefits presentations and seminars during open enrollment where employees can ask questions and learn more about their options. Be sure to ask your human resources team or benefits representatives if you're wondering about the best option to suit your needs.
How much does health insurance cost?
The cost of your insurance depends upon your employer, your benefits package and many other factors. If you get health insurance as part of your employee benefits at work, your employer often pays a portion of your monthly health insurance premium. Your health insurance cost will also depend on the details of your plan, including whether you have family members on your plan and the plan's deductible amount and copays.
Many employers offer detailed estimates of how much the cost of your insurance will increase during the next year, how much of your employee health insurance premium will be deducted from each of your paychecks and other specifics.
Open enrollment gives you the chance to make changes that can potentially strengthen your insurance coverage or reduce your upfront out-of-pocket costs. For example, if you're a single person with no dependents and you're generally in good health, you might want to consider changing your insurance plan to a higher-deductible plan with a lower premium. Or if you have family members who regularly need to see a doctor, you might want to choose a plan that has more generous benefits to reduce your total out-of-pocket costs, even if the premium is a bit higher.
It's important to understand your health insurance open enrollment options so you can make an informed choice and select the best coverage to suit your needs in the year ahead.
Can you get health insurance after annual and open enrollment?
What if you miss annual and open enrollment 2021? Depending on your job status and life circumstances, you might still have options for getting health insurance after open enrollment ends. If you experience what's known as a qualifying life event, you can enroll in or change your plan during a special enrollment period.
Common qualifying life events include:
- Loss of your health insurance coverage
- Loss of Medicaid eligibility
- A move to a new ZIP code
- Marriage or divorce
The COVID-19 pandemic also extended open enrollment for the ACA.
If you experience any of these life changes, you can still get health insurance—even if the regular enrollment period has ended.