What is Open Enrollment? It is an annual window (usually in the fall) when employers and the government (Medicare & ACA) allow employees/consumers to elect or change their benefit options. This can include health, dental, life insurance, and possibly other ancillary benefits ranging from legal services to pet insurance.
Typically, you can only enroll in benefit plans outside the open enrollment window IF you are either a new employee or experience a qualifying life event. Qualifying life events generally include:
Most Common Open Enrollment Mistakes
Sometimes it may feel like open enrollment is just another thing on your to-do list. However, you are making a big investment in your benefits package, so it is worth your time to make sure you are making the best choices for yourself and possibly your family. Common mistakes include:
Preparation for Open Enrollment
The good news is that most of the information you need is available online through your insurance portal. Your prior claims also provide an abundance of information. Our suggestions for getting ready:
Review your Options
It may be that your employer is offering an HDHP (high deductible health plan) in addition to or in lieu of a more traditional health plan. If you are in good health, it is a good idea to seriously consider switching to such a plan. They allow you to fund an HSA (health savings account), which is the most tax-advantaged way to put money away for medical expenses for now and for the future. Read our blog on HSAs.
Medicare Open Enrollment
Even Medicare has open enrollment for existing Medicare enrollees who want to change their coverage. We recommend speaking with a Medicare expert if you are thinking about changing your current coverage. Some important points are:
Open Enrollment for the ACA
Open enrollment in Illinois is November 1-January 15, 2024. The ACA website does a great job of explaining and comparing plans. The 2023 eligibility for ACA subsidies is available if you earn between $13,590 and $54,360 as an individual, or between $27,750 and $111,000 for a family of four.
Qualifying life events to enroll in an ACA plan:
For help with open enrollment, please contact your company representative or a designated specialist.