Assume for a moment you are one of the many millions that have already procured an on-exchange health insurance policy through Healthcare.gov. Yes, assume for a moment you were one of the persistent people that had the patience to pass through seventy six web-based pages of data collection on a highly glitch prone web site and acquired a health insurance policy. One would assume you weathered the storm, made a gallant effort and now there is nothing but blue skies ahead. Congratulations are in order, right? Maybe not so much. How so?
Now it’s renewal time and the yellow brick road forks. Here are several items one will encounter at the fork in the road known as open enrollment renewal:
(a) as one approaches open enrollment renewal, the directional sign is blank at the fork in the road . One will not be able to know plan prices or plan availability until 11/15/2014 which is the first day of open enrollment (and a politically convenient date falling after the mid-term elections), (1)
(b) one’s current plan selected on-exchange at Healthcare.gov, for a multitude of reasons, may no longer be available. Yes, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars and merely start all over again by searching for a plan, (2)
(c) your plan may still be available but the price has risen in a substantial manner. If the price rise is extreme, merely start all over again by searching for a plan, (3)
(d) if one was/is receiving a subsidy then income must be projected again in regards to subsidy eligibility. One must further consider the change in price of the second lowest silver plan price now available upon the exchange, which is a determinant of subsidy, and then considerer the new price of the second lowest silver plan in relation to the plan one considers selecting, (4)
(e) one might do nothing. Huh? That’s right, if you already have an on-exchange health insurance policy through Healthcare.gov, and if the plan is continued, and you do nothing you are automatically re-enrolled. Sweet! An easy way out! Nada. The plan may continue and yes one is re-enrolled, but the price has likely changed upward. If one is receiving a subsidy and since one did nothing, one’s income was not re-projected and the new price of the second lowest silver plan in relation to the new price of the old plan you selected (automatically re-enrolled) still holds as a determinant, so your subsidy likely remains the same while your plan’s price rises substantially and one ends this zero effort exercise with a nasty premium increase, (5)
(f) meanwhile the process outlined above needs initiated between 11/15/2014 and 12/15/2014. Renewal open enrollment is a thirty day window and is not the same as the open enrollment period for new comers which is 11/15/2014 to 02/15/2015. (6)
Happy holidays! One might consider that holiday shopping after 12/15/2014 and don’t be late for Thanksgiving dinner!
(1) Next edition of HealthCare.gov is unveiled, foxnews.com, 10/08/2014
(2) ACA/Obamacare: Why Your Old Plan Got Cancelled and Why Your New Plan Is Likely to be Cancelled Too.
(3) (4) How Automatic Renewal Could Cost Obamacare Enrollees, WJS, 07/02/2014
(5) (6) Next edition of HealthCare.gov is unveiled, foxnews.com, 10/08/2014