What is the Deadline for Open Enrollment?

Understanding the process for open enrollment will ensure that you check all the right boxes when it comes to getting health insurance

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Key dates every manager needs to know

Open enrollment deadlines are quickly approaching, which means managers and employers are starting to do research, gather their materials, and plan how they’re going to roll it out for maximum efficiency.

To help take on open enrollment with ease, we’ve put together this handy guide for managers so they know everything there is about open enrollment deadlines.

Open enrollment deadlines

Open enrollment deadlines are pretty self-explanatory in that they’re the cutoff period for employers and managers to submit additions, changes, and revisions to employee benefits to their benefits providers.

Open enrollment deadlines are mostly geared toward healthcare benefits, so employers will typically host their open enrollment periods around those same timeframes. The open enrollment dates for the healthcare marketplace is the main dictator of these timeframes, which vary by state.

Below are the 2019 marketplace open enrollment deadlines.

If you live in any of the following states, you’ll use the federal marketplace and the open enrollment period for 2019 coverage is November 1, 2019 to December 15, 2019:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Open enrollment 2019 for the remaining states are:

  • California: October 15, 2019 – January 15, 2020
  • Massachusetts: November 1, 2019 – January 23, 2020
  • Minnesota: November 1, 2019 – January 13, 2020
  • Rhode Island: November 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019

Note: Other state-run marketplaces may decide to have varying enrollment periods outside of the federal marketplace open enrollment period of November 1 to December 15, 2019.

When should managers have open enrollment?

While the above open enrollment for healthcare deadlines offer managers some perspective about when they have to submit their paperwork, the question remains: When should managers have their open enrollment period?

Because open enrollment for employer benefits relies heavily on submitting the necessary forms to their healthcare-related benefits providers, most employers will begin and end their open enrollment periods a few weeks prior to their respective open enrollment deadline.

For the year starting January 2020, most healthcare open enrollments will begin in November, though it does vary by state. Therefore, if you reside in one of those states, it may be best to start your open enrollment in early to mid-October to give employees plenty of time to research their options and choose/change their benefits.

Other key moments

The following are some additional key moments managers and employers should know about the open enrollment process and deadlines:

Before open enrollment

  • Enrollment for Medicaid can be accepted all year-round.
  • The open enrollment period is half as long as it was in previous years, so plan accordingly
  • Prior to open enrollment, send your employees any materials or resources they need to review so they can prepare. Often they’ll need to check their family history, talk to their healthcare providers, etc.

During open enrollment

  • Halfway through your open enrollment timeframe, check to see who has yet to sign up for or revise their benefits, and personally email them
  • Write down any FAQs so you have answers ready for any other employees with the same questions

After open enrollment

  • Submit your paperwork well before the deadline
  • Write down some final notes for yourself to help next year go more smoothly

For any additional information regarding open enrollment deadlines, visit www.healthcare.gov.

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