2018 Health Insurance Open Enrollment Is Here

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is the period of time during which health insurance can be purchased for the upcoming year. This year, the timeframe for open enrollment has been drastically reduced. It begins today, November 1, and runs through December 15 in order to begin coverage on January 1, 2018. (Please note that if you enroll through your employer, your enrollment period is likely different.)

What Does This Mean for Small Businesses?

When I decided to take the plunge to become a full-time small business owner, one thing that made it possible was the Affordable Care Act. My husband's small company doesn't offer health insurance, so we needed to purchase health insurance on the open market once I left my employer. Given my pre-existing conditions, it was only thanks to the ACA that we were able to obtain insurance and afford it.

If you're a small business owner, you've likely noticed an increase in premiums and seen that some providers have exited the market. This means you have a lot more information to review this year to find the best plan for you and your family - and much less time in which to do it.

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Help is Available

If you live in Oregon, Michael Morter, the small business liaison for the state's health insurance exchange, can help. He has a local network of state-sponsored health insurance agents who can assist you with questions - and there is no charge for any agent's services, as the commission is included in the cost of the premium. This helpful brochure also offers more information for Oregon small businesses with questions about health insurance. You can reach Michael at (503) 428-4418 or michael.h.morter@oregon.gov.

You can also find your own agent online through the state's website. I can attest to the value of a good insurance agent; ours provided an overview of state plans last month, including what networks would be covered and estimated prices.

If you're outside of Oregon, you can get answers to your sign up questions or talk through your options with a trained professional for free. Simply call 1-800-318-2596 or visit the HealthCare.Gov website to find local assistance.

Want to Help Others?

Share this post or visit Get America Covered to share the word about open enrollment. Time is of the essence!