Open enrollment 2017
Open enrollment! It's the only time of year that you're allowed to start or change your health insurance plan. Once this period is over, you're typically locked in the plan for one full year until the next open enrollment (unless you experience a special qualifying event).
Dates to keep in mind
Please note these dates change year to year.
Individual and Family Health Insurance
|November 1, 2016 - January 31, 2017|
Health Benefits Insurance
Check with your employer.
|Medicare||October 15, 2016 - December 7, 2016|
|Medi-cal||No specific dates, can apply at any time|
This open enrollment period is for individual and family plans, whether through Covered California (on exchange) or direct to the carrier (off exchange).
During open enrollment, you can:
- Change to a new health insurance company
- Change your coverage by upgrading or downgrading (i.e. If you have a new health condition, or you've started taking more prescriptions, this would be the time to review and make a decision)
- Look at your estimated income and make changes as necessary
Open enrollment for health benefits through an employer
The open enrollment period for employer-sponsored health plans will vary with each employer, because an employer can start a new group health policy at any time during the year. You need to check with your employer or HR department to find out.
Some people choose to opt out of their employer-sponsored health insurance, either because it's too expensive or they want other options. If you opt out, please note these rules:
- You must decline coverage during your employer's open enrollment period
- When you opt out, you most likely cannot qualify for premium tax credits through Covered California (the exchange). As long as the employer-sponsored plan is considered 'affordable' and meets 'minimum standards', you will not get premium assistance. An employer's plan is considered 'affordable' if your portion of the premiums are less than 9.66% of your household income.
Medicare open enrollment
Medicare open enrollment takes place from October 15, 2016 to December 7, 2016. Medicare also has other time periods throughout the year where members can make changes and disenroll in other plans.
- October 15, 2016 to December 7, 2016–open enrollment.
- January 1, 2017 to February 14, 2017–Medicare Advantage disenrollment. You can switch here from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.
- January 1, 2017 to March 31, 2017–Medicare Part B general enrollment. If you have Part A, you can enroll in Part B at this time.
If you miss open enrollment and do not experience a special qualifying event, you would be able to apply for a short-term health insurance plan. However, these do not count as minimum essential coverage, so you may still pay the penalty for not having health insurance.
We have health advisors ready to help.