Good News! If you have been trying to enroll in a health plan on Healthcare.gov so that your coverage will begin on January 1, 2014, there is some good news today from the federal government. You now have until December 23rd – not December 15th – to enroll and your coverage will be effective on January 1, 2014.Many people have had difficulty with Healthcare.gov, the Web site that allows comparison shopping and enrollment. This week, we began hearing reports that many of the initial problems have been resolved and people in Maine have been able to apply online without long delays.
To ease some of the pressure to have coverage that is effective on January 1, 2014, the federal Department of Health and Human Services sent out a notice today that HHS intends to extend the deadline for enrollment for those wishing to have coverage that begins on January 1, 2014 from December 15, 2013 to December 23, 2013.
Here is what HHS said in a memo today:
Today, we intend to extend the date by which consumers need to enroll in a plan in order to get coverage on January 1 from December 15 to December 23.
This extension will allow consumers more time to review plan options, talk with their families, providers or enrollment assistors, and enroll in a plan. We know that in Massachusetts, people visited the site three to six times before enrolling in a plan and we want to give people time to make their decision. We understand the technical challenges have made comparing plans more difficult and we want to give consumers as much time as possible.The reference to what happened in Massachusetts relates to that state’s experience after its universal health coverage law took effect. The federal Affordable Care Act is based on Massachusetts’ successful law.
Many who are shopping on Healthcare.gov for coverage likely will visit the site numerous times before making a final decision. Today’s announcement gives them more time to decide. That’s good news.
-Joe Ditre, CAHC Executive Director