Websites are freezing at both the insurance carriers and at the federal Marketplace as time is drawing near for the end of the 2016 health insurance open enrollment period. Phone lines to both sets of providers are busy and disconnects after interminable holds are once again the norm.
December 15 marks the last day to get a January 1 effective date. Miss that cut off and coverage can only be effective February 1 or March 1. Few plans carry into the new year so missing cut off dates will likely result in dangerous gaps in coverage.
Many of us are still not aware that once the annual enrollment period ends on January 31 it will not be possible to enroll in ACA compliant coverage unless specific events affect our lives. Deaths and births, marriages and divorces, adoptions and involuntary loss of coverage make up most of the qualifying events and there are few others available.
If we decide in the spring that we are ready to enroll there is a good chance that we will not be able to. If summer comes along and we want to change our plan, that may be quite impossible. And let’s not forget those annually increasing penalties for not being enrolled in compliant coverage.
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it really is time to address the enrollment requirements so that we can get on with our holiday festivities. Sadly, holiday preparations need to be put on hold while we address our health insurance enrollment options. So, let’s get it done sooner because later is fast approaching and enrollment only gets more difficult later.