Guide to Health Insurance Enrollment

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Health insurance is essential to reduce healthcare-related expenses. But if you're enrolling in a health insurance plan, it's crucial to know the basics. Get started with this quick guide to health insurance enrollment:

Know Health Insurance Basics

Several vital factors and terms are essential to understand when you're enrolling in a health insurance plan. Consider your healthcare needs and financial circumstances to find the best health insurance plan for you. It's also worth understanding basic terms when enrolling in health insurance, including:

  • Premium.

    • This is the recurring rate you pay for your health insurance plan. Health insurance organizations typically charge this fee on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.

  • Out-of-pocket costs.

    • These are the expenses you pay outside of your premium, such as cost-sharing fees like copayments and deductibles. For instance, you may pay a deductible or fee of $600 if you are admitted in the hospital whereas you may pay a $35 copayment for seeing a specialist doctor.

  • Open enrollment.

    • This is the period when you can enroll in a health insurance plan. If you miss this timeframe, you may only enroll the same year outside of the open enrollment period if a special event occurs.

  • Special Event.

    • A special event is an event that changes your circumstances and enables you to enroll outside of the open enrollment period. Some qualifying special events include the birth or death of a child, divorce, or losing healthcare coverage.

Open Enrollment Deadlines

Open enrollment varies based on your health insurance provider or your state of residence. Most health insurance open enrollment periods are at the end of the calendar year. For instance, the open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins November 1st and ends December 15th, 2019 for 2020 plans that start on January 1st, 2020. However, your employer may have a different annual open enrollment period. Some state exchanges, such as Colorado and California, also extend enrollment periods for plans starting between January and March of the following year.

Where to Buy Health Insurance

There are several ways to purchase health insurance, including individual health insurance companies. However, verify with your state regulator that the company is eligible to provide health insurance in your state. Some common options include:

  • Brokerages

    • Health insurance brokerages offer a simplified way of getting several quotes for premiums and other costs from multiple health insurance companies simultaneously. Contact us today and we can provide you with free quotes from top companies.

  • Employer

    • Employers often provide health insurance for purchase. Consider reviewing the plans and check their open enrollment deadlines.

  • Marketplace.

  • Organizations.

    • Industry-related and other organizations, such as the Screen Actors Guild or your local chamber of commerce, may offer health insurance for members.