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With rising costs, no one wants to be caught without quality health care. So, when open enrollment rolls around every year, it’s important to make it a priority.
Every year there is a set window of time when you can sign up for a health care plan. This special timeframe is called open enrollment, because anyone can (and should) sign up for coverage for the next year.
Outside open enrollment, you can’t sign up unless you have a “life event.” If you change jobs, get married or have a baby, you can get health insurance during a special enrollment period. Act quickly, though. You only have 60 days after your life event to enroll.
Organizing and limiting enrollment periods to small windows of time help insurers optimize benefits for their members. They can negotiate the best possible prices for medications, supplies, services and care when they know how many people they are serving. Open enrollment helps make all this possible.
Medicare has its own enrollment period. This year, annual enrollment is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. In addition, there are different enrollment dates for all the different parts (Medicare Part A and Part B), Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D). Some dates apply to people who are new to Medicare. Others are for people who already have it. Some dates are tied to the date you turn 65. Some enrollment periods are annual. You can find all the details at bcbstx.com/medicare.
Yes! Open enrollment lets companies offer their best policies and services. It also gives employees a chance to change their plan. After the company’s open enrollment, employees must have a “life event” to change their coverage.
For many companies, annual open enrollment takes place from Nov. 1 through mid-December. Dates can change, so be sure to check. Put your dates on the calendar so it doesn’t sneak up on you.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) spends most of the year hard at work getting ready for open enrollment. Starting in early spring, we start to fine tune everything. We listen to your feedback. We adjust the benefits we offer. We go through the forms we ask you to fill out. We look at how and when to tell you about our plans. No detail is too small. We know details matter.
Be sure you get and keep the health insurance that works best for you.
Do you have everything you need to decide?
Originally published 7/1/2015: Revised 2018, 2021,2023
I'm very sorry you've experienced this however I am glad you were able to speak with someone for assistance. ~ Kayla
I have been in contact with BCBSTX this morning, 1/24/2018. Apparently, the billing system is not showing premium payments that were made from the BCBSTX billing and payments web page. I am lucky that I took screenshots of my online payments that show confirmation numbers when I made them within the BCBSTX billing/payments web page. The person I spoke to told me that without the payment confirmation numbers, the BCBSTX billing system may not show the payments that were made and that the BCBSTX payment confirmation emails I received are practically worthless. What is sad is that email confirmations of payment do not contain confirmation numbers. I was told this morning that I will receive my 2018 BCBSTX ID card and welcome packet AFTER the billing inconsistencies have been fixed. They do not know when that will be. In the meantime, I have had to cancel doctor appointments and cannot refill one of my prescription drugs. I do not understand how a company as large as BCBSTX can mess up something like this. I have not been able to sleep at night since this is the first time in my life that I have not had proof of health insurance.
Hello Fred, If you'd like to send us a private message I can have our team take a look at what's going on with this for you. ~ Kayla
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
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