open enrollment

What is open enrollment?

ACA open enrollment guide

The Insider’s Guide to Obamacare’s Open Enrollment offers time-saving strategies for selecting coverage during open enrollment.

Open enrollment is a window during which individuals and employees may add or drop their health insurance, or make changes to their coverage.

Open enrollment windows have long been a feature of employer-sponsored health insurance, but were only implemented in the individual market as of late 2013.

For employer-sponsored coverage, open enrollment is generally the only time that employees can drop their coverage, whereas, in the individual market, people can drop coverage at any time during the year. But in both cases, open enrollment is generally the only time that people can sign up for a plan, or switch to a different plan, unless a special enrollment period is triggered by a qualifying event.

Under the ACA, individual health insurance has open enrollment windows, which apply both in and out of the exchanges. (Prior to 2014, people could apply at any time, but had to go through medical underwriting.)

General open enrollment in the individual market for 2019 coverage runs from November 1, 2018 through December 15, 2018, with all plans effective January 1, 2019. State-run exchanges that use their own enrollment platform have some flexibility in terms of open enrollment dates for 2019 coverage.

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