Open Enrollment Period Prep Instructions – 2017

Open Enrollment season is almost here! Are you prepared?

FIRST. Please write down these dates:

Medicare (ages 65+) Open Enrollment is October 15th through December 7th

Individual and Family (everyone else’s) Open Enrollment is November 1st to January 31st

Enrolled on

Important deadlines only for Washington HealthPlanFinder enrollees:
  • January 2017 Coverage – Apply between November 24th and December 23rd
  • February 2017 Coverage – Apply between December 24th and January 23rd
  • March 2017 Coverage – Apply between Janudary 24th and January 31st

NEXT. Prepare to renew or change your medical insurance plan for January 2017 in THREE STEPS!

STEP 1.  Look for a “message from your current medical and dental insurance company(ies), explaining:

    • Plan Mapping –

      If your plan is being discontinued or renamed, they will explain which plan would be most comparable to your current plan. You are not obligated to proceed with the plan chosen for you, but if you do not take action your current company may assume that you will renew with them automatically.

    • Rate Changes –

      In addition to an average state premium increase, you should expect to see a natural increase in price due to simply being another year older. Plans are rated by current age.

    • Benefits Changes –

      Many plan networks are shrinking. Make sure you understand any updates to covered services.

    • Formulary Chages –

      Many insurance companies havechanged their formularies (lists of what medications are covered, and at what levels). If you take any prescriptions regularly, be sure to verify that they arestill going to be covered at the level you require.

This information may already be in your mailbox. We know that Group Health Cooperative’s renewal notices, for example, are being sent starting October 2nd. If you have questions about your renewal notice, contact the number on the back of your insurance card.

If you have additional questions or require any assistance with obtaining the appropriate plan for your circumstances, please call us at (360) 734-1161 and our experienced team will be happy to help.

STEP 2.  Get in touch with an agent at Rice Insurance, LLC:

If you need help shopping and comparing the renewal offer to other options that may be available to you and your family or if your circumstances have changed significantly in the last year, a renewal appointment with one of our brokers should be scheduled. Appointments can be conducted over the phone or in person. Due to high volume of requests, we prefer phone appointments with our clients during Open Enrollment if at all possible.

To schedule a renewal appointment anytime, please:

Email: or

Call: (360) 734-1161

STEP 3.  Get ready ahead of time for your appointment:

All clients, please plan to review the following information with us during your renewal appointment:
  • List of doctors
  • List of prescriptions
  • Legal names and SSNs of all family members enrolling in coverage
  • Income details for household – Check Eligibility
  • Details on any group coverage offered to you or to a spouse through work
Additional steps for Exchange members:

If you or any other family members are enrolled on – we encourage you to please log into your account prior to December 23rd, 2016.

  • Make sure your username and password are up to date
  • Review online notices regarding your renewal that may be posted to your Message Center
  • Review your application information currently on file – but DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES

The Message Center Tips

The Message Center will alert you to any important steps you need to take in order to retain coverage and re-apply for advanced premium tax credits. Examples of certain messages you may find include:

“Action Required”  – If you receive a notice claiming that documentation is required, please call 1-855-WAFINDER or email for further clarification. HealthPlanFinder support staff will be the best team equipped to provide answers regarding Action Required notices during Open Enrollment.

“Automated Renewal” – If you receive a notice regarding auto-renewal opportunities available to you, please read through this statement VERY CAREFULLY. If you are enrolled on the Exchange and are eligible for auto-renewal AND your 2016 medical insurance plan has been given a new name or is no longer available in 2017, the Exchange may have chosen a new plan to map you to without your knowledge.

CAUTION against reporting changes prior to November 24th

Though it is important to log into your account prior to December 23rd, 2016 to review your account information on file, we caution against touching or opening up your application to make changes until after November 24th, 2016. If any changes should be reported, DO NOT REPORT THEM UNTIL SPEAKING WITH AN AGENT.

Any changes declared or entered into the system between NOVEMBER 1st and NOVEMBER 23rd CAN UNINTENTIONALLY IMPACT THE REMAINDER OF YOUR 2016 PLAN YEAR!

If clients wait to report changes after November 23rd, those changes will only impact 2017 plan eligibility, as intended.


FINALLY… Please keep us updated!

Open Enrollment Peroid or “OEP” as we call it is by far, our busiest time of year. The level of stress, pressure, and urgency is on par with annual tax season for our friends in accounting, or the “holiday rush” known to our friends in retail.

Please keep your agent updated even if you do not need our asssitance. This lets us know that your silence is a good thing, so we won’t harass you come the holidays, asking if you’ve decided on what you’ll be doing for 2017.