Affordable Care Act - Open Enrollment "OE2"
The Department of Health and Human Services is gearing up for the second-ever ACA open enrollment period (dubbed by some as OE2), which takes place from November 15 through February 15. All Marketplace plans expire on December 31, 2014, regardless of when they were purchased. To get coverage beginning on January 1, 2015, enrollment must occur no later than December 15, 2014. Customers who enroll by January 15 will get coverage effective February 1; those who enroll by February 15 will have coverage that begins March 1.
Individuals currently enrolled who do not re-enroll by December 15 will be automatically re-enrolled in existing coverage in most cases. This re-enrollment may or may not also apply to tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. See https://www.healthcare.gov/keep-or-change-plan/ for important questions and answers about the re-enrollment and automatic enrollment processes.
This year, the www.HealthCare.gov is supposed to be “new and improved” with a shorter application – 16 screen pages instead of 76 (although about 30 percent of applicants must use a longer form), as well as a “back” button, so people can make corrections if needed. The verification process is also expected to be faster. The capacity to compare plans will not be available until November 9, and this year’s improvements will not include a feature enabling consumers to see the health care providers in insurers’ networks. See this article from Kaiser Health News for more details.
Another article from Kaiser Health News describes some of the challenges of this second open-enrollment period. Last year, there was pent up demand for insurance among people who had been unable to get it previously due to pre-existing conditions or cost. Some of the remaining uninsured may not be able to afford insurance because subsidies are not available or are not sufficient. Still others are not aware of the availability of subsidies. While the penalties for lack of insurance will be greater this year than last, many people are not aware of this fact either. Further, many of the remaining uninsured may be more difficult to reach or may need more hands-on help to enroll, but funds to support enrollment efforts are somewhat lower this year than last. See also this piece by the President of the Kaiser Family Foundation from the Wall Street Journal’s “Washington Wire.”
For more information about enrollment dates, effective dates and special enrollment periods, click here.