The Basics

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment only comes once a year, so preparing ahead of time can help ensure that you find a plan that suits your needs
tl;drOpen Enrollment is the one time of year to get, change, or renew your health insurance. It runs from November 1 to January 15. Enrollment is closed outside that window, unless you have a qualifying life event.

Open Enrollment is a set time period every year where people can change health insurance plans and other benefits. It lasts from November 1 until January 15.

However, if you wait to enroll after the first deadline of December 15, your new plan won't start until February the following year. Federal and state marketplaces offer access to variety of plans and providers, but these dates are constant.

Which plan is right for me?

Here are some questions to consider:

1. Do you expect a low, medium, or high number of medical visits in the year ahead? It’s hard to know exactly, but estimating will help you select the right type of plan that gives you the best level of coverage for the best value (see Metal Tiers for more info on types of plans).

2. Do you want to switch plans or carriers? Add a dental plan? Catch makes it easy to shop and compare new plans.

3. Does your plan offer solid coverage? Beware: some plans offer low prices but don’t actually provide good coverage. Make sure your plan is ACA-compliant and covers all 10 Essential Health Benefits (like every plan on Catch).

4. Are you able to save money on your monthly premiums? Catch can make sure you get all the savings you're eligible for. 86% of people who buy their own insurance on the marketplace qualify for advanced premium tax credits that save an average of $524/month.

5. Do you need to renew your plan from this year? If you're happy with your plan from the previous year, find out if you need to renew it yourself. Catch can automatically renew your plan so you don't accidentally lose coverage.

Open Enrollment can be overwhelming with lots of acronyms and jargon. If you have more questions, feel free to visit our Help Center or chat with one of our licensed agents.

Why can't I enroll in health insurance whenever I want?

The idea behind having a brief window for Open Enrollment is that if anyone could get health insurance whenever they wanted, then no one would get it when they were healthy, and everyone would get it when they got sick or injured.

That would be bad news for insurance companies, who would only have customers who were hurt (ie, expensive). The dynamic could affect all kinds of insurance. Imagine if people only bought flood insurance during a flood. Flood insurance providers would quickly go out of business.