If you don’t quite understand what open enrollment is or why it’s important, it is never too early to prepare for the annual window for selecting and switching your coverage. Here are some tips to prepare how to select the best plan for you, and what to do once you’ve chosen your plan.
Before You Go Shopping
- Set a budget. Determine your family’s eligibility for financial assistance.
- Gather information about people in your household.
As You Shop
- Gather a list of the doctors your family members use and compare them to the potential plan’s network of providers.
- Put together a list of all of the prescribed medications your family takes on a consistent basis, then check how they are covered on the plans you are contemplating.
- Decide the start date for your plan. If you enroll by December 15th you will have a guaranteed effective date of January 1st.
After You’ve Enrolled
- Be sure to pay your first premium; otherwise your plan won’t go into effect until you do. You can pay your premium the way that best works for you.
- Learn the ins and outs of your coverage. Once your plan begins, log into your member portal to review your benefits, find a doctor or hospital in your plan’s network, print a temporary ID card, and more.
While you’re busy dealing with the holidays, don’t forget about enrolling in health insurance during the open enrollment period. The time frame is open from November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017 and if you forget to apply for coverage, you will have to wait until next year's open enrollment period and pay a penalty.