Feds Push Exchange Enrollment Ahead of ACA’s Dec. 15 Deadline
The Obama administration is encouraging individuals looking to enroll or re-enroll in health plans to visit HealthCare.gov by the end of Monday to enroll in coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2015, Politico reports.
According to Politico, the deadline to enroll in coverage beginning in January ends at midnight PST on Monday (Pradhan, Politico, 12/12). According to CQ HealthBeat, individuals who sign up for coverage later this month will have benefits beginning Feb. 1, 2015, while those who sign up by the final deadline on Feb. 15, 2015, will start receiving benefits on March 1, 2015.
As of Friday, roughly 1.4 million individuals had enrolled or re-enrolled in coverage through the exchange, CQ HealthBeat reports. Returning customers accounted for about 52% of those individuals, while consumers who have re-enrolled since November represent about 11% of the 6.7 million people who were enrolled in an exchange plan as of October (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 12/12).
Administration Officials Plug HealthCare.gov Ahead of Deadline
According to Politico, administration officials have been promoting HealthCare.gov ahead of the soft deadline to encourage enrollment. For example:
- President Obama during radio interviews and an appearance on the Colbert Report mostly focused on the Affordable Care Act and enrollment efforts; and
- HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Friday and Sunday met with religious leaders, whom she considers some of the "most important and effective partners" in promoting health plan enrollment.
Meanwhile, Enroll America President Anne Filipic said the organization planned to make 75,000 calls and hold 600 enrollment events ahead of the deadline.
Officials Urge Current Enrollees To Shop for New Plans
The administration as part of its enrollment efforts urged people who currently have an exchange plan to visit HealthCare.gov to update their information and shop for new plans by Monday's deadline (Politico, 12/12).
Individuals with exchange coverage who have not taken action by Dec. 15 will be automatically re-enrolled in their current coverage or switched to a similar plan if their current plan is no longer available. However, consumers who are automatically re-enrolled in federal exchange coverage will still be able to switch plans by the end of open enrollment on Feb. 15, 2015 (California Healthline, 12/5).
Administration officials have warned that individuals who are automatically re-enrolled could face higher premiums than if they select a new plan (Politico, 12/12). In addition, Burwell on Friday said people who do not update their information on HealthCare.gov might "not get all of the financial assistance [they] deserve and are able to get" (Howell, Washington Times, 12/12).
Avalere Health Vice President Caroline Pearson said that she expects most people will defer to be automatically re-enrolled and that she does not anticipate a "huge" surge in enrollment before the Monday deadline.
Meanwhile, insurers are unsure how well the new automatic re-enrollment process would work. Community Health Choice CEO Ken Janda said, "We are guardedly optimistic but still nervous, because it's brand new," adding "Given how much better things have worked this year than last year, it gives us some reason to believe that this will actually work." He noted that he expects most people to remain in the same health plans they purchased during the last open enrollment period (Politico, 2/12).
Some States Have Different Deadlines
Although those enrolling in health plans through the federal exchange face Monday's soft deadline for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2015, individuals in some states running their own insurance exchanges under the ACA face different deadlines, Modern Healthcare reports.
For example, Maryland residents have until Dec. 18 to enroll in such coverage, while individuals have until Dec. 23 to enroll in coverage beginning in January in:
- Rhode Island; and
- Washington (Herman, Modern Healthcare, 12/12).
Meanwhile, California residents, like those in states with federal exchanges, have until Dec. 15 to apply (Covered California release, 12/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.