Open Enrollment: What, When, and Why?

October 27, 2022

Open Enrollment is a roughly two-month period at the end of each year when you can get or change your health insurance. Outside of this period, enrollment is closed unless you meet special criteria (see Special Enrollment).

Open Enrollment starts November 1 and ends December 15 for plans that start on the first of the year.

You might be wondering why Open Enrollment exists in the first place. Why can't people get health insurance whenever they want?

The idea behind having a brief window for Open Enrollment is that if anyone could get health insurance whenever they wanted, then no one would get it when they were healthy, and everyone would get it when they got sick or injured. That would be bad news for insurance companies, who would only have customers who were hurt (ie, expensive). The dynamic could affect all kinds of insurance. Imagine if people only bought flood insurance during a flood. Flood insurance providers would quickly go out of business.

That's the basic idea for why there’s a limited window for when you can enroll. Now that you know, you can plan ahead. As November 1st approaches, Catch can help you find the right coverage for you and your family.

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do you expect a low, medium, or high number of medical visits in the year ahead? 
    It’s hard to know exactly, but estimating will help you select the right type of plan that gives you the best level of coverage for the best value (see Metal Tiers for more info on types of plans). 

  2. Do you want to switch plans or carriers? Add a dental plan?
    Catch makes it easy to shop and compare new plans

  3. Does your plan offer solid coverage? 
    Beware: some plans offer low prices but don’t actually provide good coverage. Make sure your plan is ACA-compliant and covers all 10 Essential Health Benefits (like every plan on Catch).

  4. Are you able to save money on your monthly premiums? 
    Catch can make sure you get all the savings you're eligible for. 86% of people who buy their own insurance on the marketplace qualify for advanced premium tax credits that save an average of $524/month.

  5. Do you need to renew your plan from this year? 
    If you're happy with your plan from the previous year, find out if you need to renew it yourself. Catch can automatically renew your plan so you don't accidentally lose coverage.

Open Enrollment can be overwhelming. There are lots of acronyms and jargon. Catch wants to help you get a plan you understand at the best price possible.

Don’t wait until the last minute! If you miss the deadline for applying for health insurance, you’re rolling the dice. Medical expenses are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US. You don’t want to be uninsured if something bad happens.

Questions? We have answers. Feel free to visit our Help Center or chat with one of our licensed agents.