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When Can You Apply For Health Insurance: Open Enrollment Explained

Since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, we have seen an increase in healthcare options for the average American. One of the major changes implemented is healthcare open enrollment, a period in which those without healthcare can purchase health insurance plans through government-approved marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand open enrollment. The good news is that we have created this guide to help answer all your open enrollment questions so that you can apply before the deadline. Let’s take a deep dive!

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment for healthcare is the set period of time each year in which individuals and families can enroll in healthcare plans or make changes to their current plan. 

Most states have an annual open enrollment period that starts on November 1st and ends on December 15th, but some states may also have additional enrollment periods throughout the year. 

The main goal of healthcare open enrollment is to make healthcare more accessible for those who need it. The healthcare plans offered through healthcare open enrollment make healthcare affordable and provide coverage for healthcare expenses such as prescriptions, doctor visits, hospital stays, and more.

Why Does Open Enrollment Have a Deadline?

The healthcare open enrollment period is limited for a few reasons. 

  • Firstly, it prevents people from waiting until they get sick to buy healthcare coverage – by having an open enrollment period that is only open annually, healthcare providers can help ensure that those with pre-existing conditions are not left without the healthcare coverage they need. 
  • Healthcare providers want to make sure that healthcare plans remain affordable for everyone who needs them. Requiring individuals to enroll during a specific time frame helps healthcare providers regulate their plan pricing and availability.

What Happens if You Miss the Open Enrollment Period?

If you miss the open enrollment period, you may still be able to purchase health insurance plans through special circumstances such as marriage, the birth of a child, a new job, or relocation. In some states, they also have extended open enrollment periods throughout the year which allow citizens to apply after the annual window has closed. 

Certain healthcare providers may offer options outside of regular and special enrollments. It’s important to note that healthcare plans purchased outside of open enrollment almost always require proof that the event that caused you to miss the deadline was unexpected.

Can You Apply During Any Time Of The Year?

No, healthcare open enrollment is limited to specific periods throughout the year. Many healthcare providers only offer healthcare plans during open enrollment and may be unable to provide coverage outside of this window. 

Even if you can purchase a healthcare plan outside of healthcare open enrollment, these policies tend to come with higher premiums and fewer options.

Health Insurance Options at Your Fingertips With Bethany Insurance

At the end of the day, it’s important for anyone who needs healthcare coverage to keep an eye on the open enrollment period so that they can apply before the deadline. 

For more information about healthcare open enrollment or healthcare plans, get in touch with Bethany Insurance today! We’re here to help you make the right choices when it comes to healthcare!

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  1. Howard Weirauch

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