Kreidler announces limited special enrollment
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced a limited special enrollment period – effective Aug. 27 – for people who have experienced difficulty enrolling in health coverage through Washington’s Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, or who have had billing or payment issues.
The special enrollment period starts Aug. 27 and is scheduled to run through Nov. 14, 2014. Only people who attest to having enrollment, billing, or payment issues with an Exchange plan may change plans during this time.
General open enrollment for 2015 individual and family coverage starts Nov. 15, 2014 and ends Feb. 15, 2015.
“The Exchange is making real progress in reconciling the cases of those consumers who’ve experienced ongoing claims and payment issues,” Kreidler said in an August 25 press release. “Today’s announcement should not take away from their efforts. It’s just one more option for consumers who still need coverage. It will not be the best option for everyone, but hopefully it’ll bring immediate relief to some.”
Consumers who choose to leave the Exchange and switch to a health plan sold outside of the Exchange will lose their premium and cost-sharing subsidies. Consumers may also lose any credit toward their cost-sharing deductible or out-of-pocket maximum.
During this limited special enrollment period, people who have experienced difficulty getting or keeping health coverage through the Exchange may:
--Stay with their health insurer inside the Exchange, but “reset” their coverage;
--Stay with their health insurer but switch to a plan sold outside of the Exchange (they will lose their subsidy);
--Switch to a new health insurer outside of the Exchange (theirwill lose your subsidy), and
--Switch to a different insurer inside the Exchange (their subsidy amount may change).
Consumers still have the option to keep their current health insurer and pay through the Exchange or pay their premium directly to their health insurer.
Everyone must re-enroll or select a new plan for 2015 during the general open enrollment period, Nov. 15, 2014 – Feb. 15, 2015, even people who use the special enrollment to change plans now.
“I’ve created this special enrollment period in direct response to consumer complaints I’ve heard over the last several months,” Kreidler said in the relsease. “I continue to support the Exchange and the work it has done to successfully enroll over 90 percent of the people who applied for coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder.
"But as insurance commissioner, it’s my responsibility to do what I can to give consumers as many options as possible for getting coverage.”