Each year, the health insurance marketplace holds its annual Open Enrollment period, beginning in the fall and stretching into January. Many of you early birds have already taken care of this important decision, and your new healthcare plan took effect on January 1. But for those of you who tend to procrastinate, keep in mind that the deadline to enroll in a healthcare plan is rapidly approaching at the end of this month.
If you’re tempted to wait until the last minute to select a health insurance policy, keep one thing in mind: Your enrollment date will affect the effective date of your coverage. This late in the game, you have two options:
- Select a health insurance policy by January 15, and make your binder payment by January 27, for coverage that begins on February 1.
- Enroll in a plan between January 16 and 31, for coverage to begin by March 1.
As you can see, missing the January 15 deadline will mean that your health insurance coverage won’t start until March, rather than February. Since one day of procrastination can cost you an entire month of coverage, it’s best to submit your application right away.
What if you’ve enrolled in a healthcare plan, and you’ve been issued a “pending” status for coverage that begins on February 1, but you change your mind about some aspect of the policy? You can still make changes to your application, but hurry. If you make those changes after January 15, they won’t take effect until March 1.
Remember that if you miss the January 31 deadline to apply for health insurance coverage, you won’t be able to enroll in a plan unless you experience a Qualifying Life Event at some point during the year. Otherwise, you will have to wait until Open Enrollment begins this November.
NOTE: Dental applications can be made any time during the year and are not subject to the Open Enrollment timelines.
As always, give us a call if you have questions about health insurance coverage, or need help with your application. We specialize in helping our clients identify all of their options and choose a healthcare plan that fits their needs.