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Open Enrollment

Confused About Open Enrollment? Here’s What You Should Know.

It can be confusing to keep up with options and changes that have been made to the timing for enrollment; use this as a general guide to ensure you have the coverage you and your family need in 2018.

This year, open enrollment for 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans began on November 1, and will continue through January 31, 2018. However, to have insurance coverage as of January 1, you’ll need to enroll by December 15. California residents can review options and enroll in their selected plan at If you have group health insurance through your place of employment, your employer will set the enrollment period. For most companies, open enrollment happens in the fall so your new coverage can begin on January 1 of the following year.

Open enrollment provides you with an opportunity to evaluate your coverage and make changes if necessary to get the right plan for your needs. Outside of the open enrollment period, you can only make changes to your plan if you have a life-qualifying event, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child.

Medicare open enrollment for 2018 coverage began October 15, 2017 and goes through December 7, 2017. During this time, you can make changes and adjustments to various aspects of your Medicare coverage, switch from certain plans to others, or simply allow certain plans to auto-renew if they’re still available in 2018. To learn more about Medicare options click here.

An important consideration during open enrollment is finding a Primary Care Physician (PCP) in your plan who can manage your overall health and wellness and coordinate care with specialists when needed. Doctors that specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, or pediatrics are all considered PCPs, and can provide preventive care, treat illnesses, and manage ongoing health concerns such as high blood pressure or cholesterol. Your PCP is your partner in managing your health, and should be the first person you turn to for any non-emergency health needs.

If you need a PCP, there are many exceptional doctors at El Camino Hospital who are accepting new patients. Find a doctor here, if you need help choosing the right doctor for your needs.


This article first appeared in the November 2017 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.

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