If it feels like open enrollment is shorter this year, that’s because it is — at least for Obamacare health-insurance plans.
The 2018 open-enrollment period for the federal government’s health-insurance exchange ends Friday. This deadline comes six weeks after the period started, making open enrollment half as long as last year.
For folks who obtain insurance through an employer, open-enrollment deadlines may be nearing as well. For Medicare, the deadline has already passed.
Open enrollment is generally the one time of year you can enroll in a health-insurance plan or make changes to the plan in which you are currently enrolled. So, if you miss it, you may find yourself without insurance, or stuck with your current plan for another year.
At the least, look at your plan options for 2018 to make sure you are enrolled in the best plan for your current medical and financial situation.
It’s quite possible your 2018 insurance plan options will differ from your 2017 options. So, the plan you picked for this year might not be your best bet for next year.
The first thing to note about the Dec. 15 open-enrollment deadline for Obamacare plans is that it applies to folks who are on such plans and live in a state that uses the federal government’s health-insurance exchange.
The federal exchange is formally known as the Health Insurance Marketplace and is accessible at Healthcare.gov, the official Obamacare website.
Some states operate their own exchanges. So, their open-enrollment period dates could differ. If you live in a state that operates its own exchange, confirm its open-enrollment deadline now.
For a list of the 15 states operating their own exchanges for 2018, and links to their websites, visit Healthcare.gov’s “The Marketplace in your state” webpage.
Once you know which deadline applies to you, check out the 2018 plans available in your area. Just visit Healthcare.gov’s “2018 health insurance plans & prices” webpage and enter your ZIP code. If you live in a state with its own exchange, you should be redirected to the website for that exchange.
The majority of folks in the U.S. get insurance through employers. If you are among them, you also should confirm your open-enrollment deadline now. Then, review the pointers in “3 Simple Steps to Prepare for Open Enrollment at Work.”
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