Open Enrollment Periods for Health Insurance


This practice note discusses open enrollment periods for health insurance. Open enrollment is a period of time each year—typically in the fall—when individuals can enroll in or make changes to their employer-based health insurance fringe benefit options. The term has sole reference to health insurance because there is no equivalent in property and casualty insurance. Life insurance may be an optional benefit that an employee may select in an employer-offered menu of benefits, so it may be tangentially involved. Open enrollment also applies to Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. An individual will only have other opportunities to enroll or to make changes under specific circumstances that will be discussed.