Open Enrollment: What You Need to Know
You’ve probably heard it before— Open Enrollment is coming! But what exactly is Open Enrollment and why should you care? We’ve put together a short guide to provide answers to the most common questions we receive about Open Enrollment (TLDR: the only time of year you can buy or change your health insurance!). If you have more questions after checking out this guide, Stride’s Concierge Team is always here to help!
What is Open Enrollment?
Commonly known as “OEP,” Open Enrollment Period is the only time of year when you can buy or change your health insurance. If you don’t purchase health insurance during the Open Enrollment period, you risk going without health insurance for the following year unless you have a qualifying life event. If you already have health insurance, this is the one time of year you can change your plan (and many people save money by re-evaluating their options each year!).
When is the Open Enrollment period?
This year, Open Enrollment starts on November 1st and ends on December 15, 2017.
Who does Open Enrollment apply to?
Anyone who isn't already covered by Medicaid, Medicare, an employer, or the Veterans Association!
What happens if I don’t buy health insurance?
If you don’t have health coverage, you’ll be subject to a tax penalty which can amount to thousands of dollars a year (yikes!). Learn more about how the penalty is calculated.
If I purchase a plan during OEP, when would it start?
All plans that are purchased during Open Enrollment will begin on January 1st, 2018!
Can I get insurance outside of Open Enrollment?
Ahh, the ultimate question. You must have a qualifying life event to apply for health insurance outside of OEP. You can purchase health insurance up to 60 days after this qualifying event occurs.
Why do we have an Open Enrollment period? Why can’t I just buy insurance when I need it?
This is where we have to introduce you to some health insurance jargon. Constraining when individuals can buy health insurance to an enrollment period (OEP) is a way of maintaining a balanced pool of sick and healthy people. This prevents people from buying insurance when they need care, which would result in adverse selection and destabilize the insurance marketplaces. Open Enrollment ensures that there’s a balance between the money that individuals pay in the form of monthly premiums and the money insurance companies have to pay in the form of claims. Still curious about this? Check out our complete breakdown of why Open Enrollment exists here.
Can I find plans through Stride instead of going through Healthcare.gov or another state exchange?
Absolutely! We thought you’d never ask! Stride offers the same plans at the same prices as Healthcare.gov or your state exchange. We even offer plans the exchanges don’t offer so you get even more choice to find the right plan!