Your guide to open enrollment: 5 do’s and don’ts for small businesses
The annual open enrollment period began on November 1, 2023 and ends on January 15, 2024 for small business owners and self-employed individuals who access health insurance through the individual marketplace. Entrepreneurs and small business employees can make changes to their healthcare plans, re-enroll or renew their plans. Below are some key tips and best practices to keep in mind during open enrollment.
Do: Enroll early
If you wish to receive healthcare coverage starting January 1, 2024, you must select a plan by December 15, 2023! However, open enrollment dates may vary per state, so make sure to check the deadlines for your state.
Do: Check if your state has an individual marketplace
No matter where you live, small business owners, their employees and solo entrepreneurs will be able to access quality health coverage. Although many individuals may be able to enroll in health insurance plans through healthcare.gov, some states have their own healthcare marketplace and marketplaces may vary from year to year. For example, Virginia now has their own insurance site, so be sure to check if your state has their own market. Please note that you can also access your state’s individual marketplace by going directly to healthcare.gov.
Do: Find out about the healthcare premium savings from the Inflation Reduction Act
The Inflation Reduction Act, enacted last year, is increasing access to more affordable healthcare for small business owners and their employees, while also cutting prescription drug costs. The Act increased ACA premium tax-credits through the end of 2025, which can save individuals an average of $800 per year on health insurance premiums.
Do: See if you or your employees qualify for Medicaid
Forty-one states (including Washington, DC) have expanded Medicaid coverage, which can provide free or low-cost coverage for eligible individuals. Many small business owners and employees qualify for this expanded coverage, but Medicaid eligibility varies by state. Find out more Medicaid eligibility and what to do if your state hasn’t expanded Medicaid.
Do: Visit the Healthcare.gov website to learn about additional credits, eligibility criteria and more
You may qualify for additional credits and healthcare savings. To get an estimate on extra savings, learn about eligibility criteria and much more, visit healthcare.gov.
Don’t: Forget to check if you can access healthcare through the individual marketplace
If you expanded your business in the last year and hired more full-time employees, you may be required to purchase small group coverage for yourself and employees through a broker.
Don’t: Change your plan if you don’t need to
If you like your current healthcare plan and coverage hasn’t changed for your preferred healthcare provider, you don’t need to change anything. Simply continue to pay your premiums.
Don’t: Skip healthcare enrollment
While it may seem like an easy way to save money, skipping healthcare coverage may put you in a financial bind. Having health insurance helps protect both your health and financial wellbeing by ensuring you’re protected against an unexpected healthcare scare and might make a difference between staying healthy and keeping your business. If you reside or operate your business in one of the following states and territories, you may get a penalty for not having health insurance.
- District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
Don’t: Forget about the Special Enrollment Period
A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is available to people with qualifying events, such as losing health coverage. Depending on the SEP type, you may have up to 60 days to enroll in a plan. Learn more about SEP.
Don’t: Go it alone
Insurance brokers, health enrollment navigators and unbiased groups can help you enroll in marketplace coverage, select a plan and handle the enrollment process at no additional cost. You can find local assistance near you and check out our healthcare resources on Venturize.
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Entrepreneurs like you often make tough decisions affecting their bottom line, and we want to hear about them. We are committed to ensuring your voice is heard by policymakers on some of the most important issues affecting small businesses so we can advocate on your behalf.