What Does Health Insurance Open Enrollment Mean?

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The majority of Americans with private health insurance receive coverage through their employers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you have an employer-provided plan, it's important to understand open enrollment.

Defined

During your health insurance company's open enrollment period, you may enroll for benefits. Your employer's insurance company is required to cover you during this time. Open enrollment typically occurs only once per year.

Features

If you need to change your current health insurance policy or are interested in enrolling in new benefit plans, open enrollment is the ideal time to do so. The changes you make during this time -- usually a period of 30 days between October and December -- are valid until the next open enrollment period.

Considerations

Making informed decisions about your health insurance plan is essential during open enrollment because you cannot change your plan for another year until the next open enrollment period. Review policy details about pre-existing conditions, prescription coverage and whether you can add your family to the plan.

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