If You Miss the Short Open Enrollment Period For Health Coverage, You May Be Out Of Luck
You may already have a lot of items on your calendar and to-do list as the holiday season approaches, but few are as important as enrolling in or updating your health insurance during California’s open enrollment 2024. The open enrollment period is your one unrestricted chance each year to sign up for an individual or family health insurance plan or modify your current coverage. If you don’t take advantage of this opportunity before the end of open enrollment 2024, you may have to wait a whole year before you can purchase health insurance.
Without coverage, an injury or illness to you or a member of your family could cost you dearly. Given how vital health coverage is to your family’s well-being, you need to understand what open enrollment is, the critical dates for open enrollment 2024, and what you must do to obtain coverage during this limited time period.
What You’ll Learn in This Post:
- The open enrollment period is your one unrestricted chance each year to sign up for an individual or family health insurance plan or modify your current coverage. If you don’t take advantage of this opportunity before the end of open enrollment 2024, you may have to wait a whole year before you can purchase health insurance.
- In California, the open enrollment period for coverage that begins on January 1, 2024 is November 1, 2023, through January 31, 2024.
- You can shop for health insurance coverage, determine your financial assistance eligibility, and enroll in a plan at coveredca.com or by working with an experienced California health insurance broker who can help you get the best coverage at the lowest price.
Here is what you need to know:
What Does “Open Enrollment” Mean?
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you cannot apply for health insurance coverage whenever you want. You must either enroll in a plan during open enrollment or during what is called a Special Enrollment Period.
If you don’t purchase health insurance during open enrollment, you can only buy or modify coverage during an SEP. A SEP is when one of the following “qualifying life events” occurs:
- You’ve lost your current coverage because of losing your job, you are losing Medi-Cal or Medicare, or aging out of coverage under a parent’s plan;
- You became a parent;
- The named insured on your coverage has passed away;
- You got married or divorced;
- You moved to an area outside of your existing insurer’s coverage;
- You became a U.S. citizen; and/or
- You were recently released from incarceration.
When Are The Key Dates For Open Enrollment 2024?
The national open enrollment period for health coverage that starts on January 1, 2024 is November 1, 2023 through January 15, 2024. However, California has its own health insurance exchange (Covered California instead of the national exchange at healthcare.gov) with an extended open enrollment period. For California residents, open enrollment 2024 runs from November 1, 2023, through January 31, 2024.
How Do I Purchase Health Insurance During Open Enrollment 2024?
As noted, California operates its own health insurance exchange where you can review, evaluate, and enroll in one of the many plans offered by private health insurance companies that offer individual health insurance plans through online portals called exchanges. When you visit coveredca.com, you have the opportunity to review and evaluate the individual insurance plans available in California. Providing basic demographic information about your family, you can also view prices for different plans based on your age, household, and income, as well as applying for financial assistance to help pay for premiums.
Here are some simple ways to sign up for a health insurance plan during open enrollment 2024:
- Online at Covered California
- Over the phone or in person with an ACA representative
- In-person with a certified health insurance broker (more on this popular option below)
- Re-enroll via your existing 2023 ACA health plan
- Mail in an application to the California State Health Exchange
What If I Need Help Purchasing Health Insurance?
While Covered California’s website is helpful and user-friendly, understanding the many differences between available plans or knowing which plan best suits your family’s budget and healthcare needs can take significant time and effort.
For this reason, many Californians work with an experienced health insurance broker to help them choose and enroll in coverage during open enrollment. When you work with a broker, you get the benefits of all of their specialized knowledge, training, and experience.
What is the best part of working with an independent California health insurance broker? You will not need to pay them any fees, and the cost of your coverage will not go up because you utilized a knowledgeable broker instead of obtaining coverage on your own through the exchange. The rates your broker will quote you already take into consideration the broker’s commission, so your out-of-pocket costs will be the same as if you purchase insurance on your own.
Need Help With Open Enrollment 2024? Speak With An Experienced Health Insurance Broker at Preferred Insurance Today
Open enrollment 2024 is almost here, but the window won’t last long. The time to act to protect your family’s health and finances during the coming year is now. At Preferred Insurance California, we work with Californians during open enrollment and throughout the year to help them get the coverage best suited to their individual and family health insurance needs.
Contact Preferred Insurance today to arrange your free consultation.