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Shifting the open enrollment period for health insurance signups could boost enrollments and may help people make better health plan choices, according to a new study.
The next open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is set for November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. But in a study published online June 25, 2014 in Health Affairs, Katherine Swartz, professor of health policy and economics at Harvard School of Public Health, and co-author John Graves of Vanderbilt University, said the traditional end-of-year open enrollment period—which overlaps the holiday season—is when many people are financially stressed and more likely to make poor decisions.
They suggested that a better time for the open enrollment period would be February 15 through April 15—weeks when low-income people typically receive tax refunds and would therefore be less financially stressed and more able to pay health insurance premiums.