Open Enrollment Season: Review Before You Renew
Why is open enrollment important?
Every year it is very important to check that your health insurance plan covers the things that you need, like your doctor being in network and your prescriptions are covered, as insurance companies will often change their plans from year to year. Your health insurance might have the same name as last year, but everything that you need might not be covered. There may be options with better coverage, lower premiums, or preferred providers, or you may choose to keep the same plan as last year, but it is important that you make the decision that is best for you and your family! When reviewing your coverage, there are specific things that you will want to look for. Are your current providers covered? A good way to verify this is to speak directly to the billing department at your provider’s office and verify that your specific plan is accepted. Are all of your current medications covered? If you are anticipating any upcoming procedures or tests, be sure to check the copays, co-insurance and cost sharing rates for those on your plan.
What is open enrollment?
It is open enrollment season for health insurance! Open enrollment is the time of year when everyone is eligible to either enroll, change or renew their health insurance plan for the next calendar year. Open enrollment began on November 15th and continues through January 15th for 2024 health plans. December 15th is the last day to enroll or change your plan to start on January 1st, and January 15th is the last day to enroll or change your plan to start on February 1st.
Is open enrollment the only time I can enroll, renew or change my health insurance plan?
Generally, yes. Unless you qualify for a special enrollment period due to a recent life event. A special enrollment period is considered a time outside of the open enrollment period where you can sign up for health insurance. You may qualify for a special enrollment period if you have experienced certain life events, such as losing health coverage, moving, marriage, having a baby, adopting a child or if your household income is below a certain threshold.
What are my options?
Employer sponsored health insurance
Many Coloradans have access to health insurance through their employer, and choose to utilize that. Open enrollment is the time for those individuals to check the specifics of their plan and ensure it still meets their needs.
Connect for Health Colorado (Colorado’s healthcare marketplace)
If you do not have access to employer sponsored health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, you might be looking to purchase health insurance on Connect for Health Colorado (Colorado’s health insurance marketplace). Connect for Health Colorado is the only place where an individual can receive financial help to cover the costs of health insurance, they have a plan comparison tool to compare plans and prices across private health insurance companies, and they have expert navigators and brokers to help Coloradan’s find the insurance plan that best meets their needs.
If you get your health insurance through Connect for health Colorado, please check out their plan finder tool to find the best plan for your health and your pocketbook.
If you are shopping for your own health insurance plan, consider attending this virtual event: Surviving Open Enrollment: Your guide to choosing and buying a health insurance plan.
Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program)
There is no open enrollment period for Health First Colorado. If you think you might be eligible, you can apply at any time. More information about Health First Colorado can be found here. Application assistance is available both in person at your county’s Department of Human Services or at a local application assistance site.
Open enrollment for Medicare began October 15th and ends December 7th. This includes regular Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, and Prescription Drug Part D plans. If you are looking for assistance with Medicare open enrollment, Medicare Navigators are a great resource! To talk to a Medicare Navigator call (720) 221-8354 or email email@example.com. State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP) is also an excellent resource during Medicare open enrollment, for more information. SHIP provides one-on-one assistance reviewing Medicare plans, information about Medicare assistance programs, assistance understanding eligibility guidelines, and answers Medicare coverage questions. To access SHIP in Colorado, go to this website or call (888) 696-7213. Another helpful nonprofit resource is the Colorado Gerontological Society which offers free Medicare open enrollment virtual sessions, individual Medicare counselors, and videos regarding how to pick the best plan and what is new for 2024 plans.