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Health Insurance

What Makes Open Enrollment SO Important?

By November 1, 2023January 29th, 2024No Comments

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a pivotal piece of legislation in the United States, dramatically changing the landscape of healthcare access and affordability. One of the core components of the ACA is the annual Open Enrollment Period, a crucial time for those who are eligible for subsidies through the program. In this article, we will delve into why Open Enrollment matters, the consequences of not having health insurance, the pitfalls of enrolling in the wrong plan, and the little-known fact that you are locked into your policy once Open Enrollment concludes.


Understanding Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is the designated period during which individuals and families can enroll in a health insurance plan through the ACA marketplace. This period typically occurs between November 1st and December 15th each year, though the exact dates may vary slightly. For those who are eligible for subsidies based on their income, this window of opportunity holds immense significance.


Access to Subsidies and Cost Savings

One of the primary reasons why Open Enrollment matters is the access it provides to subsidies. Subsidies are financial assistance from the government that can significantly reduce the cost of health insurance premiums. They are designed to make healthcare more affordable for individuals and families with lower incomes.


During Open Enrollment, eligible individuals can apply for subsidies based on their projected income for the coming year. These subsidies are calculated to ensure that healthcare coverage remains affordable. If you miss this enrollment window, you could be left without the financial assistance needed to make healthcare affordable.


Why Going Uninsured is a Bad Option

Without coverage, you risk facing exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses for medical services. Even routine doctor visits can become financially overwhelming. More alarmingly, serious medical conditions or emergencies can result in overwhelming medical bills and potential bankruptcy.


Additionally, without health insurance, you may find it difficult to access timely medical care. Delayed or forgone treatments can make health issues even worse and lead to more severe conditions down the line. You only get one life and playing the waiting game with your health is not a wise way to spend it.


Consequences of Enrolling in the Wrong Plan

Open Enrollment is not just about getting any health insurance plan; it’s about getting the right plan for your needs. Enrolling in the wrong plan can lead to a host of issues, including unanticipated costs and limited access to care.

Even if you had coverage in 2023, it is worth every second of your time to make sure that a new plan didn’t release in your area that is cheaper and has better coverage. Plans change all the time and you won’t know until you check. At Flatlands Jessup, we offer a free policy review to ensure that whatever you choose is the best possible option for you.


Unanticipated Costs

Enrolling in a health insurance plan without carefully reviewing its details can result in unanticipated costs. Some plans may have high deductibles, meaning you’ll need to pay a substantial amount out of pocket before insurance coverage kicks in. Additionally, co-payments and coinsurance can add up, significantly impacting your budget.


Limited Provider Networks

Another potential pitfall is limited access to healthcare providers. Some health insurance plans have restricted provider networks, meaning they only cover services provided by specific doctors, hospitals, or clinics. If your preferred healthcare providers are not in the plan’s network, you may face higher out-of-network costs or even find that certain services are not covered at all.


Medication Coverage

For individuals who rely on prescription medications, it’s essential to assess a plan’s formulary, which is the list of drugs covered by the insurance. Choosing a plan without verifying that it covers your necessary medications can lead to unexpectedly high drug costs.


Your Selection is Locked in Until 2025

If you miss Open Enrollment and don’t get signed up for coverage, in many cases you will have to wait until 2025 to enroll. Even if you get sick or you change your mind, there is nothing that can be done to enroll in health insurance after Open Enrollment ends for most people.

Even if you do select a health insurance plan in time, you are generally locked into that plan for the entire year. This generally means you cannot make changes to your coverage until the next Open Enrollment Period with few exceptions. This means that every year it is worth your time to make 100% certain that when you are locked in, you are locked in to the right plan.


When choosing a plan, it’s crucial to evaluate your healthcare needs, estimated costs, and preferred healthcare providers. Take the time to research and compare available plans to find the one that best suits your unique situation… or simply call Flatlands Jessup to do it for you. Since 1963 we have been helping people just like you in North Carolina with their insurance needs. We know the questions to ask and the factors to consider to make sure that you can go into 2024 with confidence in your coverage and money in your pocket.


Resources and Assistance

We are not trying to scare you; we are trying to make sure you understand why Open Enrollment is so important. Navigating the complexities of the ACA and Open Enrollment may seem daunting, but there are resources and assistance available to help you make informed choices. The team at Flatlands Jessup can provide guidance and support during this Open Enrollment Process. Unlike other agencies, we pride ourselves on year-round customer service so even if you have a question or need assistance months from now, we will be there.



Open Enrollment is a critical period for individuals and families eligible for those who need health insurance. Enrolling in the right plan is essential to avoid unanticipated costs and limited access to care. You are generally locked into whatever decision you make regarding enrollment until 2025, even if it’s not the best policy for you. By making informed choices with the free assistance of Flatlands Jessup during Open Enrollment, you can secure the coverage you need for a wealthier and healthier tomorrow.


For more information about Open Enrollment, please reach out to our team:

Call – 252-496-8956

Text – 252-347-6572

Email –