It's that time of year! The days are getting colder, the nights are getting longer, and the new year is looming on the horizon.Road surrounded by trees with yellow sign that says Open Enrollment Ahead It's also that time of year for open enrollment! Whether you only need insurance for yourself or you're looking to enroll your entire family, here's everything you need to know about open enrollment.

What is open enrollment?

This is the period of the year where an individual can sign up for the coming year's health insurance benefits. These are set days where individuals and families can purchase or change their health insurance. For many companies, this time period falls in November and December, but some businesses may offer a longer period. 

How do I prepare for open enrollment?

  1. Know the dates: The enrollment period is only open for a specific amount of time. Don't assume it's going to be the same as it was, because it's very possible that it's changed since the previous year.
  2. Consider all the factors: Closely study each plan available to make sure you're making the best choice for you and your family. 
  3. Know the network: Not all providers take every kind of insurance. If you have a preferred provider, double check that they'll still accept your new plan before signing up for it.
  4. Review your coverage: Even if you're keeping the same plan, that doesn't mean plan details haven't changed. A new year always means a new plan, even though it might be with the same insurance carrier. 
  5. Ask questions: If you aren't completely sure what part of the plan means and how it would apply to your situation, ask! From flexible spending accounts to copay and coinsurance amounts, you want to make sure you understand every part of your plan.
  6. Follow enrollment rules: Just because you signed up a certain way last year doesn't mean it will be the same this year. Don't get stuck outside the enrollment dates without full coverage because you didn't sign up or waive everything you were supposed to.

What if I missed open enrollment?

Unfortunately, if you miss open enrollment you are unable to modify your coverage until the next open enrollment period happens or you have what's considered a "qualifying life event". These events are usually a major change in your life before or after the open enrollment period that would involve you having to change your coverage. They can include:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Having or adopting a child
  • No longer being a dependent on a different policy
  • Moving and needing to pick another plan based on the insurance coverage area
  • Losing your current health insurance plan at your place of employment

Don't miss out on getting the insurance coverage you and your family needs because you didn't understand the open enrollment period. Follow these tips to properly sign up for the plan you need. If you're opening a business or are looking for new payroll or HR solutions, be sure to contact a Future Systems team member today. 

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