Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Once Again, HHS Extends Obamacare Signup Deadline For January Coverage

    Even now that the December 23 deadline has passed, and even the informal one-day extension through Christmas Eve has also passed, the Healthcare.gov website is holding out hope that some may still sign up for coverage effective January 1, 2014.  A page entitled "Tips to help you enroll in Marketplace coverage" asks, "Couldn’t enroll by December 23?"  The answer reveals that calling the Marketplace Call Center and speaking to a representative could yield options that "include starting a new application over the phone to get coverage effective on January 1."

    Although the site indicates that enrollment by January 1 may still be possible "because of problems you had using HealthCare.gov," no further details are provided online about the specific qualifications for the exception.  Problems with Healthcare.gov have ranged from simply logging on to problems with subsidy calculations to enrollments not reaching insurance companies, but it unclear which problems merit special treatment and how consumers must prove they have experienced problems with the site.
    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not issued any additional guidance, so it is not apparent how Marketplace Call Center representatives determine if someone is eligible for an exception, or how insurance companies will be compelled to grant the January 1 effective coverage date.  An email to HHS requesting clarification has not been returned.

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