Can someone explain the thinking behind "open enrollment" periods?

This has bothered me for a long time: What's the rationale for having pre-established periods during which customers can buy health insurance? It's not just related to ACA. Annual enrollment deadlines have been with us forever, forcing a frenzy of decision-making that seems to make no sense.

What America needs is universal healthcare where "enrollment" is equal to being born. The rest of the bureaucracy is nothing but bullshit designed to enrich private companies, while adding no discernible value to society.


Yes. And your question is?

Yes. Did you have a question?

"Open enrollment" is just their way of making certain that all dancers pay the pipers.
Universal coverage would be much easier and more cost effective. Taxes would pay the band.

But we can't have that since "government can't do anything right" -- I know this is true because I received a flyer in the mail (USPS!) and saw it on the internets (ARPAnet!) so I know that gubmint is dum and stoopid and never helps nobody!

I thought I had a question

It's the part of my post that ended with a question mark.

: )

I guess not.


The Reason

Open enrollment periods exist to prevent adverse selection. In order for insurance to work, people need to pay for it whether they are sick or healthy. Even with the individual mandate, we don't want someone to get a low-premium, low-benefit catastrophic plan, get sick, and then immediately move into a high-premium, high-benefit. If insurers could discriminate against existing conditions, then enrollment periods wouldn't really be needed since people would be essentially locked into their pre-sickness plan. But alas, if you mess one side of the equation, you have deal with the consequences on the other side.