Open enrollment for 2018 coverage

Open Enrollment for 2018 coverageOpen enrollment for 2018 coverage is scheduled to begin November 1, 2017, and end December 15, 2017. This is shorter than the open enrollment periods that have been used for previous years, and it’s the first time that open enrollment has been scheduled to end before the end of the year.

That means everyone’s coverage will begin January 1, and there will no longer be an opportunity to switch to a different plan after your 2018 coverage takes effect, unless you experience a qualifying event.

Open enrollment for 2018 coverage had previously been slated to follow the same dates that were used for the last two years (November through January), but the market stabilization rule that HHS finalized in April 2017 made the switch to a shorter open enrollment period starting in the fall of 2017. The November 1 – December 15 time frame was already on tap to become the standard for open enrollment beginning in the fall of 2018 (for 2019 coverage and beyond), but the market stabilization rule hastened the introduction of a shorter open enrollment period.

HHS noted that state-run exchanges (like Connect for Health Colorado) might run into difficulties in implementing the new open enrollment schedule on such short notice, and it’s possible that Colorado’s exchange might tinker with the dates using their ability to create special enrollment periods. But consumers should not plan on that. For now, the best approach is to assume that open enrollment will be just six weeks this fall, and your enrollment will need to be completed by December 15.

About Louise Norris

Louise Norris has been writing about health insurance and healthcare reform since 2006. In addition to the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, she also writes for healthinsurance.org, medicareresources.org, Verywell, Spark by ADP, and Boost by ADP. Follow on twitter and facebook.

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