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  • Writer's picturePeter J.

What is Open Enrollment? A Comprehensive Guide to Health Insurance Options

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Open enrollment is the annual period during which individuals and families can sign up for or change their health insurance plans. In the United States, open enrollment typically runs from November 1st to December 15th each year.

If you don't have health insurance, or if you want to change your plan, open enrollment is a great time to do it. During open enrollment, you'll have more choices and be able to get a better deal on your coverage.

Here's what you need to know about open enrollment in the United States:

  • Who can enroll? Anyone who doesn't have health insurance through their employer or the government can enroll in a health insurance plan during open enrollment. This includes people who are self-employed, unemployed, or underinsured.

  • Where can you enroll? You can enroll in a health insurance plan through a variety of websites and insurance companies. The Health Insurance Marketplace is a good place to start your search.

  • What kind of coverage is available? There are many different types of health insurance plans available, so it's important to compare plans before you choose one. Compare the plans' premiums, deductibles, copays, and coverage limits.

  • How much does it cost? The cost of health insurance varies depending on the plan you choose and your individual circumstances. However, most plans offer subsidies to help you pay for coverage.

  • What if I miss open enrollment? If you miss open enrollment, you may still be able to enroll in a health insurance plan if you have a qualifying life event. A qualifying life event is a change in your life that makes you eligible to enroll in health insurance outside of open enrollment. Some common qualifying life events include:

    • Losing your job

    • Getting married

    • Having a baby

    • Getting divorced

    • Moving to a new area

    • Gaining or losing a dependent


If you have a qualifying life event, you have 60 days to enroll in health insurance. You can enroll online, by phone, or by mail.

If you're not sure if you have a qualifying life event, or if you're not sure how to enroll in health insurance, you can contact a health insurance agent for help.

Open enrollment is a great time to get or change your health insurance plan. By taking advantage of open enrollment, you can get the coverage you need at a price you can afford.

Here are some tips for getting started during open enrollment:

  • Do your research. Before you start shopping for health insurance, it's important to do your research and understand your options. You can use the Health Insurance Marketplace to compare plans and get quotes from different insurers.

  • Compare plans. Once you've done your research, it's time to start comparing plans. Pay attention to the premiums, deductibles, copays, and coverage limits of each plan.

  • Choose a plan that fits your needs. Once you've compared plans, you can choose the one that best fits your needs. Consider your budget, your health needs, and your lifestyle when making your decision.

  • Enroll in a plan. Once you've chosen a plan, you can enroll online, by phone, or by mail.

Getting health insurance can be confusing, but it's important to remember that you're not alone. There are many resources available to help you, and open enrollment is a great time to get started.

I hope this blog post has been helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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