Enrollment Periods for Individual & Family Coverage

Enrollment Periods for Individual & Family Coverage Options

Medicare private insurance options

Navigating your insurance options can quickly feel overwhelming with all the jargon and knowing when to start acting. Typically, there are two times throughout the year when you can apply for insurance in the open market. We will break down the difference between the two enrollment periods.    

Open Enrollment Period

Open Enrollment (OEP) is from November 1st – December 15th. During this time, you can select coverage for the first time or change your coverage option with the insurance carriers. Your insurance will start on January 1st of the following year. In MN, it is not uncommon to see this enrollment period extended. Over the last three years, we have seen the enrollment period continue past December 15th.

Special Enrollment Period

Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) can happen anytime in the year. To qualify for SEP, you must meet the criteria of a life-changing event. This can include, retirement/losing employer coverage, marriage, or having a new child join the family. To see an extensive list for MN, click here. The earliest that you can apply for coverage is 60 days. Insurance carriers will require proof of your life-changing event with your application. Typically, when you are separating from an employer, your COBRA notice will suffice as proof.  

If you qualified for MNcare or Medicaid and lose eligibility during the year, you will qualify for a SEP due to losing your coverage. Speak with your local Department of Human Services before purchasing a plan. It is best to ensure they have the correct information on file.  

As you can see, the path does not always seem straight when you are needing to find your or your family health insurance. Schatz Benefit Group is an independent broker that assists individuals like you every day navigate through the MNsure Maze.