Believe it or not, the open enrollment period for 2024 health insurance is right around the corner. If you purchase or plan to purchase your policy through the ACA Marketplace, the #TRN team is here to break down all the need-to-know details to get your health insurance plan on track for 2024.
What is Open Enrollment?
Open enrollment is the annual period when you can shop for individual and family health insurance plans within the ACA Marketplace. The ACA Marketplace is a federally backed digital platform that connects consumers with health insurance plans and providers when employer-sponsored healthcare isn’t an option.
When is 2024 Open Enrollment?
For most U.S. states, the open enrollment window for 2024 health coverage will be available from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024, with a handful of states offering extended signup periods. Mark your calendar today and make sure you’re ready.
What Are My Options?
Open enrollment is an important time of year because it offers several options for first-time and experienced health insurance shoppers. During open enrollment, you can:
Enroll in an individual or family health insurance plan for the following year.
Switch to a new individual or family plan for the following year.
Add family members to or remove them from your health insurance policy.
Apply for federally approved subsidies to help you pay for your policy.
Aside from the annual open enrollment window, you can change your health insurance policies by qualifying for a special enrollment period; you can learn more about special enrollment periods here.
But for now, let’s focus on getting prepped for the general open enrollment window with a handy checklist.
Open Enrollment Step 1: Review
Proper planning is a crucial component of any significant decision. Ensuring you get the best coverage for next year starts with reviewing your medical and financial situation. Before Open Enrollment starts, it is essential to check the following:
Your Enrollment Eligibility: First, ensure that you still meet the eligibility criteria for new or continued coverage through the ACA Marketplace. You’ll also need to ensure no outstanding unpaid balances on your current healthcare policy.
Your Medical Needs: Review your medical expenses from 2023 and decide if you need more coverage than the previous year or if your current plan should suffice for your continuing care and needs.
Your Household Income: Look at last year’s financial statements and estimate how much money you will make in 2024. Expecting a raise or promotion? Are you concerned the economy could put a squeeze on your earning potential? Estimating this now will allow you to build a monthly benefits budget and help you determine if you qualify for any, which will help you know if you are eligible for any discounts.
Your Plan Size: If you are single and have no dependents, you don’t need to stress about this part. However, if you have a family (or are planning to), you need to consider whether you will add to or remove from your health plan next year.
Your Must-Haves: Make a list of any doctors or medications you want included in your plan. It’s common to have specialist doctors or specific primary care physicians you wish to see regularly or prescriptions you take regularly for which you need coverage.
Open Enrollment Step 2: Research
If you’ve shopped for insurance before, you know that the healthcare industry uses its own separate language: HMOs, PPOs, copays, deductibles, metal tiers, in-network providers, and so on.
It can seem intimidating at first, but learning to navigate the terminology and offerings of the Marketplace can go a long way toward helping you narrow down the plans that will provide the necessary coverage and security for your family. To sort through the various Marketplace offerings, you will need to know:
What You’re Expected to Pay: This can be confusing, especially if it is your first time having coverage. You need to research and compare plan copays and coinsurance rates, understand the trade-off between monthly premiums and deductible expenses, and assess the affordability of out-of-pocket maximum expenditures offered by the plans you’re considering. You can find more info on some of those topics here.
The Types of Plans Available: HMO? PPO? EPO? You may have heard about various types of plan structures but don’t necessarily know how these structures can affect your plan’s affordability or the amount of freedom you have to choose your healthcare providers. You can check out and compare HMOs, PPOs, and EPOs using our guide here.
The Metal Tier Level: Take the time to learn about the health insurance metal tier classifications—Gold, Silver, and Bronze plans—and the pros and cons they offer. You can take a look at our metal tier cheat sheet here.
Catastrophic plans are also available for those who are under the age of 30 or have a hardship or affordability exemption based on job-based or marketplace plans being unaffordable.
Open Enrollment Step 3: Make Sure You’re Getting the Best Price
Take your time shopping in the marketplace to get the best price possible. One of the most common ways to bring down monthly premium costs is to apply for a subsidy through the federal government. Subsidies can be found in income-based tax credits that you can apply for directly through your annual ACA Marketplace application.
For other ideas to streamline your monthly healthcare costs, check out our guide here.
Open Enrollment Step 4: Pay on Time
It’s natural to feel confused or nervous about healthcare decisions. Suppose you have questions about your healthcare plan comparison or don’t feel fully confident about the level of coverage you’re selecting for your family. In that case, it’s okay to seek an expert opinion.
A common misconception among consumers is that you have to pay extra out of pocket for a consultation with a qualified health insurance advisor, but the #TRN team is working overtime to shed light on this. It’s actually pretty simple to get matched with a licensed agent who can get you up to speed on all things health insurance to protect yourself and your family. 100% complimentary. 100% confidential.
Get started with Trusted Referral Network today to find out how.