Benefits Buzz

2021 Open Enrollments on the Horizon

Posted on September 16th, 2020

We are just about one month away from the start of a wave of open enrollment periods (OEPs). October 15th marks the start of the OEP season for Medicare with other OEPs in the individual and group markets following shortly thereafter. The below information summarizes some key dates and information as it relates to the upcoming OEPs.

Medicare Market

  • Runs from October 15th to December 7th
  • Allows for enrollment or changes in any Part D or Medicare Advantage plan available in the service area
  • Changes and enrollments are effective as of January 1, 2021

Individual Market

  • Runs from November 1st to December 15th
  • Allows for enrollment or changes in on-Exchange and off-Exchange plans
  • Changes and enrollments are effective as of January 1, 2021

Small Group Market

  • Runs from November 15th to December 15th
  • Health insurance carriers must waive participation and contribution requirements
  • Enrollments are effective as of January 1, 2021
  • Some health insurance carriers may extend the length of the OEP and/or make other effective dates available

Large Group Market

  • No mandatory required OEP
  • Many large employers renew their health plans and benefits on January 1st, and as a result, they have an OEP that occurs during the fourth quarter

With so many OEPs occurring during the 4th quarter, the health insurance industry has become much more seasonal over recent years. It is expected to be a very busy time in the industry. Brokers, employers, and individuals should plan accordingly and allow for enough time to make informed decisions on coverage for 2021.


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