Prepare for Open Enrollment 

by David Allazetta

With Open Enrollment upon us, this is a good time for employers to help their employees understand the options they will be committed to for the next year. Here are five tips to help them.

1. Know one’s open enrollment dates.

  • Open enrollment isn’t the same or at the same time for everyone.
  • For the more than 177 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many companies set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.
  • Medicare Open Enrollment runs Oct. 15–Dec. 7 each year.
  • Health insurance marketplace or individual state exchange open enrollment runs Nov. 1–Dec. 15.
  • For most people, changes made to coverage during open enrollment take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

2. Take time to review one’s options.

  • There is no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting a health plan.
  • Check if one’s current coverage still meets one’s needs and if the benefits will change next year.
  • Determine if the plan is a good fit for one’s budget, including deductibles, copays and coinsurance.
  • Make sure one’s medications are covered.

3. Make sure one’s doctor is in one’s plan’s care provider network. 

  • Check if one’s plan includes 24/7 telehealth services for consultations on minor health issues. Often, telehealth is available to people enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans and group Medicare Advantage plans, as well as select individual Medicare Advantage plans.

4. Don’t forget about additional benefits, 

  • Additional benefits such as dental, vision, accident or critical-illness insurance are often affordable options that can protect oneself and one’s family from head to toe.

5. Take advantage of wellness programs. 

  • Some health plans offer programs are designed to reward people for making healthy choices and being more engaged in improving their health. offers articles and videos with easy-to-understand information about health benefits and health insurance terms.

David Allazetta is CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Arizona.

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