Health Care

Open Enrollment, Explained


We need to spread the word ASAP: Open Enrollment for health insurance begins on November 1, 2017. Open Enrollment is the period when people can shop for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces, and either renew their old plan or sign up for a new one. For most states, the Trump administration has chosen December 15, 2017 as the final day of Open Enrollment—cutting the length of time people have to shop for insurance in half compared to previous years. Some states have chosen to extend their Open Enrollment period beyond the federal cut-off date; for a full list, click here.

Why is Open Enrollment important?

Open Enrollment is generally the time of the year when people can sign up for health insurance if they don’t get coverage through their employer or a government plan, like Medicaid or Medicare. Insurance companies insisted on having an open enrollment period in the ACA to discourage people from waiting until they get sick to get covered. For most people, if they miss this period, they will be without health insurance in 2018.

Stop the Sabotage

Trump has sought to undermine this year’s ACA Open Enrollment period in a number of ways. His administration shortened Open Enrollment from 3 months last year to only 45 days this year. He also decimated the government’s outreach efforts by slashing the advertising budget for Open Enrollment by 90%, and shrinking the budget for navigators—who help people enroll in coverage—by 40%. The Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for ACA outreach, also broke its commitment to partner with nonprofit organizations on enrollment events.

Thanks to Trump’s sabotage, plus Congress’s endless attempts to repeal health coverage, many people may either not know about their health care options or just assume the ACA is gone now. We cannot depend on the federal government to ensure Open Enrollment is successful this year—we have to take matters into our own hands.

We’re depending on you

Spreading the word about Open Enrollment is the best way we can resist Trump’s dangerous sabotage agenda. That’s why we’re releasing this and other resources: to ensure that Indivisible groups across the country have the knowledge and tools to get people in their community enrolled in coverage. The more people who enroll in ACA coverage this year, the harder it will be to repeal the ACA in the future. You were a critical part of defeating TrumpCare in the Senate, and together we can defeat open enrollment sabotage, too.