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Open Enrollment is here! What does it mean for you?

What to consider when shopping for health insurance during this open enrollment period

The leaves are changing color, temperatures are dropping, and everything smells of pumpkin spice. It must be time for our favorite season—Open Enrollment. Whether you are looking to purchase health insurance for the first time or adjusting your current plan, there are multiple things you’ll need to consider—and terms you’ll need to understand—when deciding what plan is best for you.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment is the specific time frame each year when you can select a health insurance plan or make changes to your existing plan. If you don’t receive health benefits through your employer, or your company’s health insurance doesn’t meet your needs, you may shop for insurance and compare our plans offered through UPMC Health Plan’s Marketplace.

Open Enrollment for individuals and families runs from November 1, 2021 through January 15, 2022.

These are other important dates you should keep in mind:

  • January 1, 2022: If you want your coverage to take effect on this date, purchase a plan between November 1, 2021, and December 15, 2021.
  • February 1, 2022: If you want your coverage to take effect on this date, purchase a plan between December 16, 2021, and January 15, 2022.

Additional Savings Available

In the past year and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) was signed into law making health care more accessible and affordable. Even if you didn’t qualify for financial help before, you may now qualify under ARP [1].

Why is Open Enrollment important?

Your health is your most valuable asset. Regardless of your age, health status, or occupation, there are numerous benefits your health insurer can provide to help you manage your health and well-being.

If you miss the Open Enrollment window you may not be able to sign up for a plan for another year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment period.

Big changes in your life may allow you to have a Special Enrollment period, which means you can buy coverage outside Open Enrollment. These changes are called “qualifying life events.”

What is considered a qualifying life event?

If you have …

  • Gotten married
  • Had a child
  • Lost your existing health coverage (possibly due to a change in employment)
  • Moved to a location where your health plan is no longer available
  • Turned 26 years old and lost coverage from a parent’s plan
  • Experienced anything on this longer list of qualifying life events

… then you may qualify for the opportunity to enroll. You have 60 days from the date of your qualifying life event to find a new plan and enroll. Note that in some cases, dependents can remain on their parent’s/guardian’s plan through the remainder of the calendar year in which they turn 26. Those who are about to turn 26 should check with their current insurer to learn how long they will remain covered by that policy after their birthday.

What should I do next?

If you are new to buying insurance or want to learn more about choosing an insurance plan with full in-network access to UPMC’s world-class medical facilities, top-ranked doctors, and other respected providers in your area, call the UPMC Health Plan Open Enrollment helpline at 1-833-512-2829 (TTY: 711) or shop using the UPMC Health Plan Marketplace starting November 1, 2022.

[1] Eligibility for financial assistance is based on annual adjusted gross income. Annual income amounts are determined by the federal government. To determine your eligibility for financial assistance, you must confirm your eligibility on the Pennie™ website.