When we talk about Open Enrollment for health insurance, we’re usually referencing the period during which you can make changes on your Covered California healthcare plan. However, those of you over 65 (or approaching your 65th birthday) have your own Open Enrollment period, and it is slightly different than that of Covered California.
When you reach age 65, you are eligible to enroll in Medicare, plus any Medicare supplement plans that you might choose. And although both systems operate their Open Enrollment periods beginning the fall of each year, the dates and requirements are a bit different. So, to clear up any confusion, the Open Enrollment dates for each healthcare system are as follows.
Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 1. This is the earliest date at which we can discuss changes in the program and your application must be submitted by the deadline of December 7. Any changes in your coverage will become effective on January 1.
Of course, if you reach your 65th birthday outside of the Open Enrollment period, you still qualify to enroll in Medicare. You don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment, but you will need to remember this important enrollment period in each subsequent year.
Covered California Open Enrollment opens November 1, and remains open until January 31, 2017. However, you must submit your application by the 15th of the month, if you want your changes to become effective on the first day of the following month. So, for example, if you don’t submit your application until December 16, your coverage won’t start until February 1.
Hopefully, we’ve cleared up any misunderstand Covered California. As always, don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions. We can answer many general questions, but remember, Medicare does not allow us to discuss changes specific to your plan until Open Enrollment begins October 1.