November 23, 2013
I’m not sure why the Obama administration thinks it will make a difference if they extend the deadline to sign up for insurance on the exchanges from December 15 to December 23. Whatever gains they believe they’ll make will be illusory. The fact is, only Connecticut is signing up more people on the exchange than are applying for Medicaid. That does not bode well for consumers who may face huge increases in premiums next year because not enough healthy people are signing up for insurance.
The Obama administration announced Friday that the Department of Health and Human Services will extend a key Obamacare deadline by one week.
Americans can now sign up through December 23 in order to have health coverage start on January 1, according to Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
December 15 was the original deadline for coverage beginning January 1.
“We realize that many consumers who are seeking coverage in January may have experienced frustration with the site,” Bataille said in a conference call with reporters.
“In response, HHS intends to extend the date by which consumers need to enroll in a plan in order to get coverage on January 1st … This extension will give consumers more time to review plan options, to talk with their families, providers or enrollment assisters and to enroll in a plan.”
It is not entirely clear how the change will be enacted to enable insurers offering policies on the exchanges to process applications. Bataille said in future months, an application will still have to be completed by the 15th in order to secure insurance by the first of the next month. People buying policies will have to make their first premium payment on or before December 31 in order to be insured on January 1.
Bataille said the administration has been in contact with insurers about the change, but final details would not be spelled out until an official policy announcement could be made in the near future.
The final deadline to purchase insurance or face a penalty is March 31, 2014. There has been no change in that date.
“We think that a six month long open enrollment period is a significant amount of time for consumers,” said Bataille.
But the administration did announce a delay in some deadlines for the 2015 enrollment period, which will now begin November 15 of 2014 instead of October 15. That change, according to Bataille, was made to enable insurers to get a better sense of how their Obamacare programs work during the first coverage year.
Note that HHS announces the policy change and then consults with insurance companies. I’m no expert but shouldn’t it be the other way around?
It doesn’t matter what the insurance companies think. Or consumers, businesses, congress, or anyone else. This is not about “fixing” anything; it’s about political damage control and how to hide the failure of Obamacare from the American people – hopefully until after the 2014 election.