Affordable Care Act

2019 Open Enrollment Period: Will It Still Happen?

Published on June 22, 2018

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With quite a few changes happening in the health insurance world, some people may be thinking that there is no more Open Enrollment Period that you have to wait for to enroll in a health insurance plan.
Although there have been changes to the Affordable Care Act, the Open Enrollment Period has not been thrown out the window.

What are the dates for the 2019 Open Enrollment Period?

If you’ve shopped during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) in previous years, you may have noticed that the time frame you have to enroll in a plan has been shortened.
Although in past years the OEP dates have changed, the 2019 Open Enrollment Period is projected to occur during the same time frame as the year before.
Like last year, the open enrollment will be November 1st through December 15th.  These dates may vary based on the state, so check here to see if your state’s enrollment period is different.

How to prepare for the 2019 Open Enrollment Period

There are a few things you can do to prepare for the OEP this year, if you’re planning on participating:

  • Know when the period begins and ends. In a survey taken during the 2018 Open Enrollment Period , 56 percent of respondents reported that they didn’t know when open enrollment was ending. If you want coverage for 2019, this is the most likely the only time you’ll be able to enroll in a major medical Obamacare plan.
  • Start researching plans as soon as possible. Knowing what kind of health insurance you’re looking for before the Open Enrollment Period even begins will put you ahead of the game. While everyone else is scrambling to understand the health insurance plans on the market, you’ll be able to get in and out of the application and enrollment process quickly, before the period is up. You can start exploring plans and learning about health insurance at any time of the year. Visit eHealth to see plan options, and explore around our Resource Center to get a better understanding of plan types and what you’re looking for.
  • Gather important information. Each insurance company is different, and may have different information they require for your application. There is some basic information though, like your household income, that will be especially important when it comes to getting health insurance subsidies. According to healthcare.gov, the official website for Marketplace health insurance, you might also want to gather the following:
    • Information about any dependents that will be covered
    • Home and/or mailing address
    • Social Security numbers
    • Immigration documents (if applicable)
    • Tax filing information
    • Employer and income for all household members
    • Current health coverage information (if applicable)

Keep in mind that the specific data requested depends on the insurance company, so this list might not reflect the exact information you should have on hand.

Are there any changes to know about the 2019 OEP?

Something that might change how you think about the Open Enrollment Period is that the individual mandate will no longer be in effect in 2019.
In late 2017, President Trump repealed the fine associated with the individual mandate, meaning that people will no longer be fined for not having ACA-compliant health insurance.
This means you can buy non-ACA-compliant plans, like short term health insurance, outside the open enrollment period and not face fines on your 2020 taxes for being uninsured. People can also choose not to have coverage at all. But with all the affordable options out there for alternative coverage, you may find that even without the fine, you’ll be motivated to enroll in some form of health insurance coverage.
This article is for general information and may not be updated after publication. Consult your own tax, accounting, or legal advisor instead of relying on this article as tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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