What You Need to Know about Open Enrollment
Every year around this time I get a lot of questions from small business owners and entrepreneurs about Open Enrollment. Let’s go over the basics.

What does open enrollment mean?
Here’s the open enrollment meaning from our friends at Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary:


What’s available during open enrollment?
Medical, dental, vision, and life insurance are the most popular offerings, but some employers offer specialty items like tax savings programs, pet insurance, and financial counseling.

How long is open enrollment?
It varies. If you’re buying your own Affordable Care Act plan through healthcare.gov, the period begins November 1 and ends at midnight on December 15. If you use a state exchange, check here for extended deadlines. Covered California allows enrollment for individuals, families, and small businesses through January 31. Organizations that offer calendar-year benefit plans kicking off January 1 usually have their open enrollment period for 1-2 weeks in late November or early December.

What happens if you miss open enrollment?
It’s critically important that you make this deadline! If you miss the December 15 federal enrollment deadline, or the deadline in your state, you can get 2021 Marketplace coverage if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event like changing in marital status, having a baby, or losing your job.

Need more information on Open Enrollment? Check out this short best-practice video from SHRM.