Question: Why is there an open enrollment period to buy health insurance? Wouldn’t anytime be better?
Answer: Wouldn’t it be great if you could purchase health insurance on Amazon when you need it — when told you need an MRI or from your hospital bed right after the accident. But if we all did that, the insurance company would not collect enough money to pay for everybody’s claims. So everybody has to put money into the pot all year long to make it work. The young and the healthy help pay for the old and sick.
Outside of the Open Enrollment Period (October 15 - January 31), people who need health insurance can enroll through Special enrollment with a qualifying life event such as loss of work related insurance, marriage, birth of a child. etc.. Those who are eligible for Medi-Cal can enroll anytime during the year.