Open enrollment is the period each year when you’re allowed to start, stop or change your health insurance plan. Normally, you sign up around the end of one calendar year for coverage that lasts the full next year. The open enrollment window for private, individual health plans will last three months for 2017 coverage: Nov. 1 to Jan. 31.
This applies to all private, individual health plans. You can shop for private plans in three ways: On healthcare.gov or a state exchange; directly on an insurer’s website; or through a local health insurance broker. If your health insurance comes from an employer, your open enrollment may not be at the same time each year. Your employer and health insurer will decide the open enrollment dates, and the timing may depend on a lot of factors, including when new plan information is available from the insurer. But selection is generally during the fall. Medicare open enrollment is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Medicare beneficiaries also have other time periods throughout the year when they can change benefits. And unlike other types of insurance, Medicare has additional “disenrollment” periods.