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Open enrollment refers to the period of time each year during which you can enroll in or make changes to health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, and other employee benefits offered through your workplace.
While the term “open enrollment” most often refers to the health insurance sign-up period, it encompasses the full breadth of employer-provided insurance solutions, as well as insurance available through the government health insurance marketplace.
During the open enrollment period, you’ll have the chance to change, update, or enroll in benefits through your employer or the government marketplace.
Regardless of where you enroll in insurance , the process remains essentially the same and is generally straightforward. Typically, the paperwork and communication with insurance companies is done through your employer’s HR department or a government representative.
Nearly all insurance providers use an open enrollment period. If you’re enrolling in insurance through your employer, you may have both sponsored and employee-paid benefits available to you during open enrollment.
Employer-sponsored insurance is purchased by your employer and available to all eligible employees (and their dependents). When you enroll, your employer typically pays for some or all of the monthly premiums, and the remainder of the cost is deducted from your pay. Traditional health insurance that you enroll in through your workplace is the prime example of employer-sponsored insurance.
Employee-paid insurance is offered through your employer, but chosen and paid for entirely by the employee. Because of the opt-in nature of this system, these supplemental benefits are also known as voluntary benefits. They tend to include life insurance policies as well as plans for different scenarios and illnesses, ranging from accidents to specific diseases.
There are a few cases in which sign-ups aren’t limited to a specific period of time. For example:
There are two types of enrollments: active enrollment and passive enrollment. Each type follows different rules or procedures. It’s important to know which you’re working with so that you can enroll in the best plan for your needs.
In the weeks leading up to the open enrollment period, you’ll want to prepare for the process of enrolling in a new plan or making changes to your old plan(s). Use the checklist below to ensure you have everything you need.
If you miss the open enrollment period, there’s no need to worry. There are still options available to you:
This article is intended to provide general information about insurance. It does not describe any Metropolitan Life Insurance company product or feature.