Open enrollment begins November 1, and it’s more important than ever to take charge of your health and be prepared for the unexpected with comprehensive health insurance coverage for whatever might come your way. RMS Insurance Services is a team of health insurance experts with decades of experience, and we assist individuals and families in exploring all of their options when it comes to shopping around for affordable health insurance policies. As we quickly approach the annual open enrollment period, we understand that for many, it can be overwhelming to sift through all of the changing health care packages available to determine the right amount of coverage for you and your family. RMS strives to be a resource for all of the clients we partner with across multiple states and we are always ready to help you to determine what plan makes the most sense for you in the upcoming year, and as always – our services are at NO cost to you!
Let’s talk about being prepared for open enrollment!
What and When is Open Enrollment?
Open enrollment is a specific time period every year when you can enroll in a health insurance plan or make changes to your existing plan, specifically through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), whether your state uses its own exchange or the federal marketplace. If you do not use the open enrollment opportunity to enroll or make changes to your plan, the only other time you can do so is if you have a qualifying life event that will trigger your own Special Open Enrollment (SEP) window.
Open enrollment for health insurance coverage through the marketplace for 2022 begins in every state on November 1, 2021, and runs through January 15, 2022, for most states. However, if you want a coverage plan that takes effect on January 1, 2022, you must be enrolled by December 15, 2021. Any enrollment that takes place after December 15, 2021, will qualify you for coverage beginning on February 1, 2022.
For employer-based health insurance, open enrollment is also an opportunity to disenroll in coverage, and the dates for employer-based open enrollment are dependent on your employer and are typically around this same time period so employees have coverage when the new year begins.
When it comes to Medicare, there are a number of different Medicare enrollment periods, the most significant being the Annual Election Period (AEP), which occurs yearly between October 15 and December 7. During AEP, you can enroll, switch, or drop a plan.
What If I Miss the Open Enrollment Period?
If you miss the open enrollment period, you won’t be able to add insurance coverage or make any changes unless you qualify for a life event. Qualifying life events are as follows:
- Loss of Health Coverage: Aging out of your parent’s plan, the loss of a job or qualification for Medicare or Medicaid services.
- Changes in Household: Marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, or death in the family.
- Relocation: Moving to a new region outside of your current insurer’s coverage.
- Other Qualifying Events: Becoming a naturalized citizen, leaving incarceration, joining or leaving the AmeriCorps.
I Think I’m Happy With My Current Coverage; Do I Really Need to Do Open Enrollment?
Yes! But, first and foremost – having a conversation with an experienced health insurance broker like the team at RMS Insurance Services is always your best option, even if you’re “happy” with your current coverage. Our services are never at any cost to you, and we have decades of industry knowledge and experience, so there’s really no better resource available. We keep up with all of the changes in the health insurance industry and dedicate our time to sifting through all available options so you don’t have to, and our goal is always to save you money while ensuring you’re protected with the coverage you need.
Even if you’ve been enrolled in the same plan and you’re generally content with your coverage and the costs you pay, there are many things to consider as we approach open enrollment. For one, there are new carriers available this enrollment period which we can detail for you. If you do decide you want to stay put on your same plan, you will still need to update your application for 2022, and we will gladly help you with that!
One of the biggest things to consider when shopping for health insurance for 2022 is the fact that the American Rescue Plan Act has made it easier to get a premium subsidy (premium tax credits), and the subsidy is higher for those who qualify. Normally, subsidies are only available to households with income up to 400% of the poverty level, but that limit has been removed for 2021 and 2022 under the American Rescue Plan. Now, people with an income of 400% of the poverty level or higher are eligible for a subsidy if their benchmark plan would otherwise cost more than 8.5% of their household income. Confused by all that? Let’s have a conversation and see how we can possibly save you money with a subsidy – it’s what we love to do!
For those on Cobra, our experience has shown us that 99% of the time, there are better and more affordable plans available. For those on a short-term medical (STM) plan, talking to an agent can help you get your policy dates aligned with the Obamacare enrollment periods so you don’t find yourself uninsured, and uninsurable, in the middle of the year (loss of an STM does not qualify for a SEP to get an Obamacare plan).
Don’t Qualify for a Marketplace Plan? Let’s Talk.
If Obamacare continues to not be an option for you and your family, there are still other true insurance options available that can get you affordably covered. Once we understand your unique situation and needs, RMS can outline all of your options – NOT discount plans, indemnity plans, or scheduled benefit plans.
Preparing for Open Enrollment
RMS Insurance Services can guide you every step of the way during the open enrollment, and here’s some of the information that will help us be the best resource possible for you.
- Basic Information – Name, address, birth date, social security number, and citizenship status.
- Household size and income – this can include a wide range of documentation, including pay stubs, W2s, or tax returns.
- Coverage details and premium information for any employer-sponsored plan that’s available to your household, whether you’re enrolled or have declined coverage.
- Current doctor’s names and zip codes to be sure they’re in-network with any plans you may be considering.
- A list of medications.
- Payment information for the insurer to use to charge premiums.
Why You Should Use a Broker for Open Enrollment At NO Cost To You!
It can definitely be overwhelming to sift through all the options when it comes to health coverage, and the bottom line is having an experienced, trust broker on your side can make all the difference (and get you significant savings!). At RMS Insurance Services, our proven process begins with a complimentary consultation and no-obligation quote, and tapping into our services is never at any extra cost to you. We are committed to understanding your unique insurance wants and needs so we can build you a custom coverage plan during this open enrollment period. Book a complimentary consultation with us today, or email us at email@example.com for more information.