Glossary Term

Open Enrollment Period

An Open Enrollment Period is a predetermined time each year when eligible people may enroll in a health plan. Outside this period, a person may not enroll in the health plan except in situations where he or she qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period.

An Open Enrollment Period is used to mitigate the risk of people waiting until they are sick before enrolling in a health plan. With an open enrollment period, people who do not enroll in a plan and get sick are responsible for their own medical expenses until they can secure coverage through the next enrollment period.

Government insurance programs such as the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D have open enrollment periods.

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