The annual open enrollment period during which people can sign up for health insurance plans through government exchanges for the 2017 plan year begins November 1, 2016 and ends January 31, 2017. For private employers, enrollment dates vary per organization and the time frame may be much shorter. With the enrollment period open, the time to evaluate your healthcare options is right now.
This time frame allows shoppers to enroll, switch plans and get subsidies on health plans. Employees and organizations also select and enroll in fringe benefits such as disability income protection, retirement benefits, and daycare, among others.
In most states, the deadline to enroll in a healthcare plan with a January 1, 2017 effective date is December 15, 2016. However, in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington State, enrollments can be completed as late as December 23 and still have coverage effective January 1.
The annual enrollment window applies to most people*, whether they purchase insurance through an exchange or off-exchange.
There are some exceptions to the enrollment period.
Native Americans and Alaska Natives can enroll year-round, as can people who are eligible for Medicaid.
Citizens of Nevada may purchase coverage outside the exchange year-round, however subsidies do not apply and there’s a 90-day waiting period before coverage becomes effective.
In the rest of the country, you must have a qualifying event in order to enroll outside of the open enrollment period. Qualifying events include:
- Becoming a U.S. Citizen
- Birth or adoption
- Involuntary loss of coverage
- Permanent move to an area where new health plans are available (as of July 11, 2016, this only applies in most cases if you had coverage prior to the move)
Many health insurance carriers and some state-based exchanges require proof of eligibility for common qualifying events. Starting in 2016, Healthcare.gov requires proof of eligibility for qualifying events.
DataPath Administrative Services is a leading provider of administrative services to employers throughout Arkansas, specializing in the administration of tax-advantaged benefit plans, payroll, retirement and Human Resources.