Health Insurance

What does Open Enrollment mean?

A Answers (2)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    Open enrollment is a certain time each year (typically around the time when holiday decorations are unpacked and put up, and radio stations start playing holiday music) when you can make changes to your health insurance coverage (switch plans, add coverage, get rid of unnecessary coverage, etc.).

    It’s a good idea to prepare for open enrollment by reviewing your Summary Plan Description (SPD).  That is a major commitment (not only because the SPD is really long and complicated, but also because it’s extremely boring), so start early and invest in a quality set of magnifying glasses so that you can read all the fine print.

    You want to have all the ins and outs of your policy down pat -- the pros and cons, benefits and limitations -- so you have a better idea of the changes in coverage you need to make. If you need help, contact your benefits office if you receive health insurance from your employer, or contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for free advice and counseling.
    Helpful? 2 people found this helpful.
  • AUnitedHealthcare answered

    Open enrollment is an event that takes place once a year where you can make changes to your employer-sponsored health plan. You can add to your policy, delete benefits or change and add members such as a dependent or spouse. Most employers will not let you make these changes except during this once a year event, unless you have a qualifying event such as getting married or divorced, changing jobs, or having a baby. Employers will usually notify employees about the dates and details for each year’s Open Enrollment event in advance.

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What is the Summary Plan Description (SPD) for my health insurance plan?