A new study that was published in the journal Health Affairs suggested switching the open enrollment period from the later part of the year to the spring, when people may be more willing to purchase insurance benefits because they have extra money from their tax returns.
The study was conducted by Katherine Swartz, a professor of health policy and management at Harvard School of Public Health, and John Graves, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University. Swartz and Graves used previous data on people’s decision-making ability when they are financially stressed, and concluded that having the open enrollment during the holiday season may impact how people chose health benefits. The study found there the period from Feb. 15 to April 15 may be the most opportune time for the open enrollment period, as most people are no longer stressed from the holidays and can use their tax returns toward their premium payments.
According to USA Today, Swartz said switching the open enrollment dates is a simple fix that can increase the enrollment rate and decrease the number of people who have to pay penalties for not having insurance.