Open Enrollment 2017: What to Do Now

July 21, 2016

If you’re like many employers, renewing a group employee benefits plan used to mean a fall crunch time of reviewing spreadsheets, discussing options and facing a frustrating, limited number of choices. But there are steps you can take today – in the middle of summer – to avoid the crunch and find a more affordable, easier way. Below are some key dates to help you be ready, sooner:

First, what is open enrollment? And when? 

A time each year in which anyone can enroll in an individual health plan. For coverage starting in 2017, the open enrollment period is November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. The deadline to apply for a 1/1/17 policy is December 15th.

What is the deadline to enroll in coverage starting 1/1/2017?

Individuals should make plan selections by December 10, 2016. If plans are selected after December 15th, the effective date will be the first of the following month.

Can individuals enroll in coverage outside of open enrollment?

Outside the open enrollment period, you can generally only enroll in individual coverage if you have a qualifying life event. Qualifying life events include things like losing coverage from your employer, getting married, having a baby, getting divorced, etc. Note, you can apply and enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time of year.

Can businesses make the switch from a group plan to a solution like Gravie at anytime during the year?

Yes! Most employers don’t realize this, but group plans are month-to-month contracts. You should be able to cancel your group plan at any time during the year. Check out our post: Myth: Employers are Stuck in Their Group Plans for the Year. It’s a good idea to evaluate your health plan throughout the year. Even if you’re not quite ready to make the switch, understanding your current benefit situation could save you time and money.

Can businesses that don’t currently offer health insurance sign up with Gravie at any time during the year?

While we recommend signing up in time for open enrollment, we understand that this isn’t always possible. Fortunately there are ways around this and we can help. Contact us for more information.

What should I do if I’m interested in making the switch to Gravie for the 2017 open enrollment period?

The first step is to request a Dynamic Financial Analysis or you can simply submit a contact form here. If you want to make sure your employees are eligible to shop with Gravie during the 2017 open enrollment period, we recommend acting now. November 1 is just around the corner and appointments with our sales reps fill up quickly. To ensure an easy and seamless onboarding process, contact us today!

For more information on whether Gravie is a good fit for your company, check out our post Reinventing Employee Benefits: Who and Why?

My business is already a Gravie customer. What do I need to communicate to my employees for the upcoming 2017 open enrollment Period?

You don’t have to communicate anything to your employees. Your Gravie account manager will send communications directly to each employee informing them of the opportunity to shop for new health coverage and the steps they need to take.

When it comes to shopping for and enrolling in plans, Gravie advisors are here to help your employees with everything from choosing the best plan for their needs to helping them apply for government tax credits when eligible. Open enrollment is busy time at Gravie, stay tuned for more information on our advisor line’s extended hours.

Webinar: Welcome to Your Future: Employer’s Guide to Modern Employee Benefits

When: Wednesday, 8/10, 12pm CT

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