Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Healthcare.gov Still Promoting Coverage Effective January 1 [Updated]

    Six days into the new year and fourteen days after the extended December 23 deadline, the federal Obamacare website Healthcare.gov is still holding out hope of coverage beginning January 1 to some consumers.  The notice, which first appeared on December 24 (the unofficial extra-extended deadline), advises consumers who had "problems" with the website to call the Marketplace Call Center which may offer the option of "starting a new application over the phone to get coverage effective on January 1."

    No additional details are given about what type of "problems" might qualify one for the special treatment or what kind of proof might be required from consumers that they experienced a qualifying problem.  Also unclear is how the government could require an insurer to offer coverage retroactive to January 1 to a consumer who began a "new application" almost a week past the effective coverage date.
    A Healthcare.gov chat agent contacted late Sunday night said that the option is no longer available, and that the "earliest your coverage could start now is February," yet the notice has not been removed.  An email to the Health and Human Services press office about the website page offering coverage effective January 1 was not immediately returned.

UPDATE: Some time on Tuesday, the website was updated to remove the above message.  It was replaced with this:

    The change was not notated.

Note: A version of this article (before the update) first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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