Open Enrollment
Open Enrollment offers Americans a limited window to sign up for a health insurance plan or modify their existing policies. But COVID-19 is making changes to this period.

Open Enrollment typically runs throughout the fall from late October to early December for most employees. Exact dates are determined by each individual corporation, so many Americans are verifying their Open Enrollment periods to ensure they don’t miss out on enrolling in a health insurance plan, making changes to their existing policies, or choosing other methods of handling their healthcare expenses.

But like most other aspects of our lives these days, the coronavirus pandemic has created the need for changes. And Open Enrollment is no exception.

So how exactly has COVID-19 affected Open Enrollment? And what other options do you have to take care of your medical expenses without being subject to the restrictions that come with health insurance and enrollment periods?

Employees Are Taking More Time to Compare Policies

Employers and insurance companies are making changes to how they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. These days, consumers are much more skeptical and inquisitive about health insurance and are taking more time to look over their options and what their employers and insurance providers have to offer. 

According to a poll conducted by financial planning company Voya, about 70 percent of employees claim to be taking more time to evaluate the benefits available to them as a result of the health crisis compared to the previous enrollment period.

health sharing ministries
Members of health sharing ministries do not have to worry about Open Enrollment deadlines.

Employers Are Making Plan Comparison Easier

Luckily, employers are making it easier for employees to compare different plans. Rather than just using the typical data listed on company websites to use for comparison purposes, employees can now access virtual enrollment platforms, webinars, and online enrollment options to compare various plans. 

At the same time, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is providing an increased number of tools on the website for consumers to use to compare plans.

Coverage for COVID-19 Issues Is Uncertain

The type of coverage that health insurance policies offer is a major factor to consider when choosing a policy. But these days, Americans may want some assurance that COVID-19 will also be under the coverage umbrella in case they’re ever infected and hospitalized.

The majority of the big insurance companies in the US are currently offering waivers for cost-sharing for coronavirus treatments through the end of 2020. Some are even considering extending these waivers well into 2021 to help alleviate pressure on the healthcare system throughout the flu season, especially if COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in various parts of the nation.

Unfortunately, these tactics have yet to be solidified, which means it will be impossible to accurately compare how different policy options will cover coronavirus-related illnesses. Consumers are encouraged to examine what each insurance provider has offered thus far and verify whether or not the plan has done away with co-pays and deductibles or waived out-of-network fees for coronavirus treatments.

Health Sharing Ministries Offer a Different Option 

Open Enrollment is already filled with limitations, and this year’s COVID-19 environment is making things even more challenging. Luckily, there are other options available if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to handle healthcare expenses in 2021. 

A UHSM health sharing program may be just the thing to consider. As a member of a USHM health sharing program, you will not need to scramble during a short two-month period to enroll or make changes to an insurance plan. Instead, you’re free to sign up any time of the year without rushing into anything.

Plus, you’ll have freedom and flexibility to choose the healthcare practitioner you wish to see from UHSM’s First Health® PPO Network, a nationwide network of over one million doctors, all while obtaining significant savings in monthly contributions compared to the typical expense of monthly health insurance premiums.

To find out what type of health sharing program might work best for you and your family, speak with a representative from UHSM or click here to see how much you can save with a health share program from UHSM.