Open Enrollment - Notebook
August 01, 2021 By Bob Viñal

When is Open Enrollment and What Do I Need to Do?


Your healthcare plan is one of the most important decisions you make each year. Not only does your healthcare plan set forth your network of providers; it also deeply impacts your budget. Choosing the right plan helps you access the care you need, while managing your out-of-pocket expenses in the best way for your situation.

That’s why it is so important to pay attention to Open Enrollment each year. Normally, Open Enrollment runs from November 1 to January 31 each year. However, in response to the pandemic and related conditions, Covered California is operating a special Open Enrollment throughout the year in 2021. Here’s what you need to know.

Healthcare plans depend upon where you live. In California, you can choose from two to six healthcare providers, depending upon the offerings in your area. Determine which providers you prefer, and check to see if they are offered under a particular plan’s network.

Plans are offered in tiers. You can choose from plans in four tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. To those who qualify, a minimum coverage plan might also be available. Bronze tier plans have the lowest premiums but highest deductibles, whereas Platinum plans have high premiums but the lowest deductibles.

Analyze your budget. The plan you choose should fit the amount of healthcare you typically require, with a premium that suits your monthly budget. If you choose a low-premium, high-deductible plan, consider a health savings account which will help you set aside pre-tax dollars for use toward your deductible or other out–of-pocket expenses.

Apply for financial assistance. Through Covered California, you can apply for government-funded subsidies that help you manage the cost of your premiums. Your subsidy will depend upon the size of your household and your income. If your income falls below certain levels, you might be eligible for Medi-Cal. We can help you find out how much assistance you qualify for.

Life Changes? If you have had any life changes (marriage/ divorce, had a newborn, got a new job or lost a job, moved to a new county ) please let us know so we can make sure your plan fits your health care needs as well as your budget.

Assistance is available. Call our office to discuss your healthcare plan options. Healthcare plans can be complicated, and we will help you understand the ins and outs of each plan, so that you can choose the right plan for your budget and healthcare needs.

About Author

Bob Viñal

Bob Viñal has been working in the insurance industry for more than 30 years, handling everything from plan design to claims and rating structures.

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