Your Open Enrollment for 2018, will not be impacted by any potential Congressional changes to the ACA (Obamacare). However, you need to be aware of two major changes the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has made to the Open Enrollment process for 2018.
1. OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR 2018 HAS BEEN SHORTENED TO 45 DAYS. THE PERIOD WILL BEGIN NOVEMBER 1ST, AND END DECEMBER 15TH.
• This means if you intend to change insurance carriers or category of your plan (Bronze, Silver, etc.) you will need to make your decision during the shortened Open Enrollment period.
2. THE SECOND MAJOR CHANGE RELATES TO UNPAID HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS.
Under current rules if your health insurance is cancelled by the carrier for non-payment of premium, you can re-enroll with the same carrier during Open Enrollment without consideration of any past owed premiums.
• Under the new rules an insurance company can deny coverage until all the back premiums owed have been paid before you will be able to enroll.
As an example, assume you are covered by an Anthem Silver EPO with a $400 monthly premium, and your last payment was for the month of May. However, you fail to pay your June payment, and after approximately 45 days your policy is cancelled for non-payment effective June 1st.
If you want to enroll in any Anthem plan for 2018, you will be required to pay all the back premiums owed for 2017 ($2800 – June 1st – December 31st).
This change was requested by the insurance carriers to ensure individuals would maintain coverage (and premiums) throughout the year. Carriers had complained that an insured would enroll in a policy, have a medical procedure, and drop coverage for the remainder of the year. This became an issue because policyholders could drop coverage during the year, and enroll in new coverage during Open Enrollment for the next year without regard to pre-existing conditions or any past premiums owed.
The obvious solution for someone who owes past premiums is to change to another carrier for 2018.
If you have questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (626) 797-4618.