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Change is typically a good thing, but it can become confusing when discussing the open enrollment period established by the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Open enrollment represents a period of about six weeks when Americans sign up for health insurance or change health insurance plans. If your employer provides a health insurance plan, the open enrollment period gives you the opportunity to discontinue coverage. Americans that do not enroll in a health insurance plan during an open enrollment might have to wait until the following year to receive health insurance coverage offered by a plan purchased in the state or federal marketplace.

One of the certainties of the open enrollment period is you can expect changes to it every year. What changes can we expect for the open enrollment period of 2022?

1) More Time to Enroll

As we mentioned, the standard open enrollment period lasts six weeks. For most states, that will change when the time comes to enroll in a health insurance plan for 2022. Starting on November 1, 2021, the open enrollment period for health insurance coverage runs to January 15, 2022. That gives you around four more weeks to make all your important health insurance decisions.

However, for health insurance coverage to kick in on January 1, 2022, you must enroll in a plan by December 15, 2021. Any Americans that sign up for health insurance coverage after December 15, 2021, can expect their plans to start on February 1, 2022.

Learn more in Everything You Need to Know About Open Enrollment 2022.

2) More Choices, Lower Premiums

They say there are two certainties in life, with neither one being pleasant. Up until 2021, you could have added a third certainty: Rising health insurance premiums in the open marketplace. According to Heatlhcare.gov statistics, the average health insurance premium for 2022 should decline by about three percent. Some state-managed marketplace health insurance plans might see a small increase in premiums.

What is the momentum behind the lower premiums for health insurance in 2022? The answer is more competition, as the number of health insurance providers is expected to increase. More than 30 more health insurance companies plan to offer health insurance policies through the federal marketplace, which brings the total number of insurers offering plans to 213.

3) More Support from Health Insurance Experts

After funding cuts over the past few years of 84 percent, Healthcare.gov has stated funding should be restored in 2022 for the navigators program. Navigators are trained health insurance experts that provide educational support for Americans. These professionals receive their certifications from the federal marketplace. Americans can expect more educational resources online, as well as have more time each day to work with a navigator. The restoration of funding for the navigators program should speed up the open enrollment process.

4) Three States Open State-Run Marketplaces

During the 2022 enrollment period for health insurance coverage, three more states will offer state-operated marketplaces. Maine, Kentucky, and New Mexico will transition more than 173,000 residents from enrolling in a federal marketplace plan to a state marketplace plan. If you live in any of the three states and have health insurance through the federal marketplace, Healthcare.gov will transfer your data and personal information to the new state marketplace. You also receive instructions on how to enroll for health insurance coverage in 2022.

5) More Financial Help

One of the appealing attributes of state and federally-managed health insurance marketplaces is the subsidies provided for low-income Americans. In 2022, the federal government plans to increase subsidies for low-income families under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The United States Congress enacted the ARPA in response to the economic damage produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Until the 2022 open enrollment period, the federal marketplace provided subsidies for Americans at 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The subsidies decrease the amount of money paid for copays and deductibles. The ARPA increases the FPL to 400 percent to cover more Americans that are struggling financially to afford health insurance coverage.

6) No More Surprise Medical Bills

A majority of marketplace plans operate with closed provider networks, which means the plans do not cover non-emergency healthcare delivered by a provider outside of a network. If a marketplace plan does cover out-of-network healthcare, the policyholder receiving the out-of-network care faces unexpected additional healthcare costs. Starting on January 1, 2022, a federal law kicks in that forbids insurance companies from sending policyholders unexpected medical bills.

Find the Right Plan During Open Enrollment 2022

The open enrollment period for 2022 ushers in more changes than the changes made during any year since the passage of the ACA. Although you have more time to enroll for health insurance in 2022, you should be proactive and get it done to start coverage for your plan on New Year’s Day 2022.

If you miss the idea of corporate open enrollment, having a qualified and knowledgeable health insurance broker walk you through your options at no cost to you, fret not. You can still get the assistance you need at no cost to you.

Our free service gives you access to an independent network of national brokers who have the experience and expertise to design a plan around your needs and budget. Our network of brokers will tailor a complete solution for your health coverage needs.

Ready to get started? Simply request a no obligation health insurance quote here.

Additional Open Enrollment Resources

Navigator vs. Broker: Who Should You Turn to for Help During Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment Primer: Federal, State, or Partnership?