What is Open Enrollment?

Amy Barczy

| 3 min read

Amy Barczy is a brand journalist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and writes for AHealthierMichigan.org and MIBluesPerspectives.com. Prior to joining Blue Cross, she was a statewide news reporter for MLive.com. She has a decade of storytelling experience in local news media markets including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor and Port Huron.

Open enrollment is a time each year, typically in the fall, when health plans allow members to enroll in a new plan or to make changes in their coverage for the upcoming year. This is the main time to sign up for health insurance.
The dates of your open enrollment period depend on how you get health insurance. If you get health insurance through an employer, through the individual marketplace on healthcare.gov or through Medicare, you will have an open enrollment period:
  • Coverage through marketplace plans on healthcare.gov: Open enrollment is Nov. 1, 2023, to Jan. 15, 2023, in most states.
  • Coverage through plans offered by work: Your employer will set your open enrollment period. Contact your HR department to learn more. These typically occur in the fall.
  • Coverage through a Medicare plan: The annual enrollment period – similar to open enrollment – is Oct. 15, 2023, to Dec. 7, 2023. Initial enrollment in a Medicare plan occurs when an individual turns 65.
Individuals who qualify for Medicaid can enroll in benefits any time. Additionally, individuals on Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (DSNP) – which means they are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid – can enroll any time.

What do I do during open enrollment?

Open enrollment provides members and any family members on their plan a time to make changes for the coming year. It’s a good time to evaluate if the amount you spent on health care – from the monthly premium to any out-of-pocket costs – lined up with your health care needs. Make sure you understand the two main types of health insurance plans – HMO and PPO plans – before making your final decisions.
Did you meet the deductible? Are the doctors and specialists you see still in network? Does your plan cover your medications? Are you making the most of the benefits available to you, including choosing a health savings account (HSA)?
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network members can review their current coverage and make changes online through their member account. If it’s your first time logging in, find your ID card and follow these directions:
  1. Go to bcbsm.com
  2. Click the Login button at the top of the screen
  3. Click Register Now and follow the instructions to create your account
If you’re interested in an individual plan or family plan offered by Blue Cross or BCN, here’s how to learn more:
If you’re interested in seeing if you qualify for free or subsidized health insurance, visit healthcare.gov to review the options available to you on the marketplace.

Missed open enrollment?

If you miss the open enrollment period, you will need to check to see what happens with your plan after Jan. 1. Some health plans available through workplaces will automatically re-enroll you in the same level of benefits for the new plan year. However, this may not be the case for every individual.
In the event that you do lose coverage after Jan. 1, you have options:
  • Have you experienced a qualifying life event? Certain life events including getting married, getting divorced, having a child or losing insurance from an employer would qualify you for a special enrollment period to get health insurance coverage. 
  • You can buy short term health insurance, which helps bridge the gap to help you meet your health care needs.
Health plan advisors can help you decide which Blue Cross and BCN plans are right for you. Call 1-855-237-3501 or the number on the back of your card.

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