Gary Cohen (CMS photo)

If you weren’t able to keep a health policy you liked, now you have to prove it.

Officials at the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight talk about the rules governing hardship exemptions for stranded policyholders the latest batch of guidance.

CCIIO officials came out with guidance to answer consumer questions about an option the Obama administration created Dec. 19.

CCIIO said policyholders stranded by cancellations can use a hardship exemption to buy high-deductible “catastrophic coverage.”

Catastrophic plans are low-cost policies that meet Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act coverage standards, but come with high deductibles. Consumers who buy them don’t qualify for subsidies.

PPACA was designed to discourage consumers from taking on the high deductibles by limiting use of the catastrophic plans to young consumers and those who couldn’t afford low-deductible coverage.

In the new guidance, officials say stranded policyholders who want catastrophic coverage will have to send a hardship exemption form and proof of cancelled coverage to prospective carriers.

If consumers fail to document policy cancellations, they will be contacted, officials say.

Some of the other grounds consumers can use to qualify for hardship exemptions include being homeless; facing a recent eviction, foreclosure or bankruptcy; or suffering domestic violence.

Consumers have to submit some kind of documentation for most of the exemption categories, but those who say they’ve suffered from domestic violence don’t have to provide any documentation. 

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