Good news for Idaho & Maryland. Bad news for...well, 39 other states.
I've been expecting the first and third of these developments:
OPEN ENROLLMENT EXTENDED UNTIL DEC. 22
ONE WEEK ADDED TO ENROLL IN 2018 HEALTH, DENTAL COVERAGE
BALTIMORE (DEC. 13, 2017) – Open enrollment through Maryland Health Connection has been extended until Friday, Dec. 22 to choose a plan for health coverage to begin Jan. 1, 2018, with expanded call center hours through next week.
Individuals can apply at MarylandHealthConnection.gov or through the “Enroll MHC” mobile app available free in the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).
Also, hundreds of insurance brokers and navigators around the state can help Marylanders apply for financial help and enroll in a plan. Their locations and contact information are available at MarylandHealthConnection.gov or through a GPS-enabled locator tool on the app.
Marylanders may enroll by phone toll-free at 1-855-642-8572 (TTY: 1-855-642- 8573) as well. Maryland Health Connection offers assistance in more than 200 languages, as well as TTY services for the deaf and hard of hearing.
For the coming week, the call center will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. today through Friday, Dec. 15; from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16; from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18 through Friday, Dec. 22, the final day of open enrollment for 2018 coverage.
“While enrollments have been very strong so far this year, we want to ensure that everyone in Maryland in need of 2018 health coverage has additional time to shop and enroll,” said Dr. Howard S. Haft, interim executive director for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which administers Maryland Health Connection.
“We thank our partner insurance carriers and our army of consumer assisters at this busy time for helping us add an extra week to open enrollment,” said Michele S. Eberle, chief operating officer who will begin next Monday as the new executive director for MHBE.
This has been a pretty common move on the part of both the federal exchange (HealthCare.Gov) as well as many of the state-based exchanges. The official deadline for submitting a coverage application in Idaho is still midnight on Friday, December 15th, but anyone who does so will be given an extra week to actually select and enroll in a policy.
To be honest, I'm not even sure that this is a change in policy for Your Health Idaho; it might've been on the schedule all along and I just didn't notice it earlier. Anyway, glad to hear it. I'm a little surprised, I admit; I don't think Idaho has offered a grace period in the past.
Unfortunately, to the shock of absolutely no one, this "In Line By Midnight" policy is not gonna be policy in most states this year for what I assume is a pretty obvious reason:
December 11, 2017
Stakeholders expect CMS to shut out potential enrollees attempting to register for a plan on healthcare.gov as the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 15 and not afford them a grace period for sign-ups as the agency has done in years past -- and the agency wouldn't deny that might be the case when asked about it by Inside Health Policy . The 2018 enrollment period, which the Trump administration shortened by half compared to previous years, ends Friday (Dec. 15)...
The rest of the article is subscription only, but you get the gist: It appears that anyone who hasn't actually selected a policy and completed the enrollment process by midnight Friday night will NOT be allowed to come back and wrap things up after that. I presume this also holds true with regards to the call center, people with special circumstances, etc etc.
It's important to note that this does not include people eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, including certain specified life changes (moving, getting married, giving birth, etc), coverage loss for other reasons, hurricane victims and so forth who still have a 60-day window to #GetCovered via HealthCare.Gov regardless of the official 12/15 deadline.