Family happily smiling

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance for 2024: A Comprehensive Guide (Updated)

HealthPlans of NC

Health Plans of NC Staff

For United States citizens, having access to quality healthcare coverage is absolutely crucial. Without it, you may be liable for massive medical bills when an unforeseen health concern arises. Many people experience difficulties finding an affordable and comprehensive plan that suits all their needs. Open enrollment scheduling and confusing health insurance jargon can make the process seem more challenging than it needs to be. 

This article will focus on offering the reader tips and insights about open enrollment for health insurance in 2024.

What Is the Annual Open Enrollment Period?

Simply put, open enrollment is a window of time in which you are able to apply or enroll in health care coverage. Open Enrollment Periods (OEPs) occur annually. 

During this time, you are able to choose a new plan, cancel an existing plan, or make adjustments to an existing plan. While many states have consistent OEPs on par with one another, some states vary. This is due to the type of marketplace a particular state is affiliated with (state-run marketplace vs. federal marketplace). This may create confusion for some individuals attempting to enroll in a health insurance plan.

It is more common for individuals to enroll in the federal marketplace. In Marketplaces (federal marketplaces), 12.2 million consumers selected plans during the 2023 OEP (November 1, 2022, and January 15, 2023). Contrarily, State-based Marketplace Plan selections consisted of 4.2 million enrollees within the same time frame. 

When is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance 2024?

Having trouble finding quality, affordable health plans has become increasingly common for Americans in recent years. Individuals that don’t have access to healthcare through their workplace or Medicare must explore state and federal insurance marketplaces for themselves. Luckily, there are resources that can help. 

Knowing when your state’s OEP is extremely important since Open Enrollment Periods may vary depending on your state.  In North Carolina, the Open Enrollment Period for ACA plans is November 1st through January 15th every year.

Health Insurance

When is Open Enrollment for Medicare 2024? 

If you receive your health coverage through Medicare, the annual Open Enrollment Period begins October 15th and ends December 7th every year.  During this time, Medicare recipients can review their current Medicare plan and make changes for 2024.  This is an important step for any Medicare recipient because drug formularies and networks can change from year to year.

The Enrollment Requirements For Health Insurance

In 2023 OEP, marketplace coverage increased by 21% to 3.7 million from 3.1 million from the previous year in the United States. This number is likely to increase again in 2024. In order to enroll in a health insurance plan, you must meet certain requirements. These include legal requirements and meeting certain timing expectations. 

To learn more about open enrollment requirements in North Carolina, visit Health Plans of NC.

Legal Requirements 

According to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), applicable large employers (ALEs) must have a specific annual enrollment period communicated to their employees. Not doing so leaves them susceptible to penalties carried out by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Full-time employees must be presented with an opportunity to enroll in health plans by their ALE. 

For non-ALEs, there is no offer of coverage requirement. However, they are still expected to have an annual open enrollment period depending on their health insurance carrier or their specific collective bargaining agreement. 

If employer health plans offered aren’t considered affordable or meet minimum value requirements, employees must have the option to reject coverage annually. This also allows them to remain eligible for premium subsidies within Affordable Care Act Exchanges. 

Timing Rules 

When it comes to open enrollment for health insurance in 2024 timing, the OEP is expected to begin before the beginning of 2024. This gives employees ample time (typically around 3 months) to choose their plan. Their selection is designed to take effect at the start of 2024. 

Some state OEPs may end well before 2024, ensuring enough time for administrative tasks to be completed in a timely fashion. This is to make sure new coverage is available at the very start of the new year. 

If Open Enrollment Is Over: What Are Your Options?

Each year, individuals miss their state's OEP for various reasons. Luckily, there are still health care options available. This section will discuss healthcare coverage options just in case you miss open enrollment for health insurance in 2024.

A great way to learn about all your options and find a plan that works for you is to utilize a healthcare professional. At Health Plans of North Carolina, we have you covered. Learn more about how we can help and get a quote today. 

Special Enrollment Period

Individuals that experience a change in the household (having children or getting married) are eligible to enroll in coverage during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Those that have lost essential health coverage (Medicare or Medicaid) may also enroll in a new plan during this time.

Supplemental Health Insurance

People can also qualify for supplemental health insurance outside of their OEP. This includes disability, critical care, accident, dental, vision, and other wellness insurance. 

It is also possible to enroll in short-term coverage that can help bridge the gap between enrollment periods.  

Young woman on computer

Other Health Insurance You Can Enroll To

There are other insurance options outside of those offered during OEPs. These plans have their own specific advantages and disadvantages. Trusting in an insurance broker, healthcare navigator, or other insurance professional can make this process much easier. In many cases, these professionals can assist you at no additional cost. 

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

Individuals approaching their 65th birthday become eligible for Medicare Parts A and B. The Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) starts three months before a person’s 65th birthday month and ends three months after. Many people choose to add supplemental insurance to their Medicare due to gaps in coverage.

General Enrollment Period (GEP)

The General Enrollment Period is designed for individuals that want to enroll in Medicare Part B. This period is from January 1st through March 31st. This is available for people who missed their AEP deadline.

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment 

Supplement Open Enrollment begins during the birth month of your 65th year and ends 6 months later. At this time, you can add supplemental insurance that can provide additional support outside of Medicare. 

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

Similar to General Enrollment, Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment occurs from January 1st until March 31st. This includes making changes to your plan from the previous year. You are able to make changes only once during this period. 

Consult a Health Insurance Professional To Help You Choose the Best Option

Finding the right health insurance coverage can be complicated. Without professional assistance, it can be difficult to find affordable options that meet your needs. Health insurance professionals can answer your questions and point you in the right direction. 

When is open enrollment for health insurance in 2024? What sort of plan can meet all of my needs? What plans am I eligible for? At Health Plans of North Carolina, our team can answer these questions and much more. Our goal is to offer our expertise so you can protect both your health and your finances. 

Get a quote and schedule a consultation today!

FAQs about Open Enrollment for Health Insurance 

Will the Affordable Care Act be available in 2024?

Yes, the ACA will be available in 2024.

How often do open enrollment periods usually occur?

Open Enrollment Periods occur once a year.

What is the annual enrollment period for Medicare?

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period begins October 15th and ends December 7th to review and make changes to your existing coverage.

What is the Medicare Advantage enrollment period for 2024?

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is January 1st until March 31st every year.

What are the income limits for the Affordable Care Act 2024?

To be eligible for the Premium Tax Credit through the Affordable Care Act, you must earn 100%-400% above the poverty level ($14,580-$58,320 as of last year). Those making over 400% may still qualify due to recent changes.

Ready to get started?

See plans and pricing today.

Ready to get started?

See plans and pricing today.