10 Things You Should Know About Health Insurance for 2019
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 one time of year you can buy or change your health insurance!). If you have more questions after checking out this guide, Stride’s Member Experience Team is always here to help!
1. What is Open Enrollment?
The Open Enrollment Period, more commonly known as OEP, is the one time of year that you can buy or change your health insurance. If you don’t buy health insurance during OEP, you will not be able to purchase until OEP the following year unless you experience a qualifying life event. If you already have health insurance, this still applies to you! This is the one time of year you can change your plan.
2. When is Open Enrollment?
OEP starts November 1 and ends December 15, giving you just 6 weeks to choose a plan and get signed up Click the button below and we’ll make sure to remind you when it’s time to enroll!
3. Why does Open Enrollment exist?
If Open Enrollment didn’t exist, when would you buy health insurance? Most likely when you got sick or injured, right? Well, OEP restricts when you can buy health insurance in order to maintain a needed balance for health insurance companies. By constraining the time period in which you can purchase health insurance, the amount of money going into and coming out of insurance companies’ pockets remains relatively balanced. This allows insurance companies to maintain a balanced pool of sick and healthy people, keeping the marketplaces stable. The amount individuals pay in premiums works to counteract the money insurance companies are paying out towards claims. If people could sign up for insurance at any point, this balance wouldn’t exist and would cause an unhealthy disruption within the health insurance industry.
4. Who does Open Enrollment apply to?
Americans ages 18 to 64 who aren’t already covered by Medicaid, an employer, their parents, or Veterans Affairs.
5. Which states have extended enrollment windows?
Some states choose to extend the window people have to buy health insurance. Check to see if you live in one of these states and take note of the enrollment window:
California: October 15-January 15
Colorado: November 1-January 15
Massachusetts: November 1-January 23
Minnesota: November 1-January 13
New York: November 1-January 31
Rhode Island: November 1-December 31
Washington D.C.: November 1-January 31
6. What if I already have a plan from last year?
If you purchased health insurance during last year, you will be automatically re-enrolled for next year. Sounds pretty good, right? Beware—people who don’t switch plans oftentimes see their monthly health payments increase, their prescriptions might no longer be covered, and their doctors might no longer accept their old plan. Many people choose to cancel their current plan and switch to a new plan to either save money or get coverage that better fits their life!
7. What can I expect for Open Enrollment 2019?
Premium prices will go up, but there are still ways to save. According to preliminary research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, rate increases range from 7 percent to 36 percent depending on your location. However, many people avoid premium hikes by switching plans! In addition, subsidies help offset the impact of premium increases because they increase as prices go up on the marketplaces.
More insurance companies will provide plans. So far, no carriers have left the marketplaces. In fact, a few insurers have joined the marketplaces. This means you will have more plans and carriers to choose from.
You will still get just as much value from your plan. Plans will continue to cover all the essential health benefits you’d look for in a health plan. Plans are required to continue covering things like emergency services, preventative care, prescription drugs, and more. If you have questions about your coverage, don’t be afraid to ask our award-winning Member Experience team by dropping them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Do I have to sign up for all types of insurance during Open Enrollment?
Nope! However, many people choose to enroll in dental, vision, disability, life, and accident insurance during OEP in order to protect their entire physical and financial wellbeing all at once. Stride makes it easy to buy most of these at the same time so you can get back to doing what you want to be doing!
9. How am I going to afford health insurance?
Subsidies are offered to help people afford health insurance. These are offered in two forms: the premium tax credit (this means you don’t have to pay them back!) and the cost-sharing subsidy. Wondering if you qualify for these? Stride will help you figure it out based on eligibility criteria.
10. Where can I buy my health insurance?
While you can buy health insurance directly from the federal or state exchanges, Stride makes the whole process a lot easier. We'll recommend the best health insurance plan for you based on your specific needs and help you find subsidies that will lower your health insurance costs—all in 10 minutes or less. Then we'll help you get enrolled and covered as fast as possible.