(Bloomberg) — Insurers in at least 14 states will let consumers who missed the March 31 individual health insurance open enrollment deadline sign up for coverage in April, according to eHealth Inc. (Nasdaq:EHTH).
At least one health insurer in 14 states has been continuing to enroll consumers past the deadline, according to Nate Purpura, an eHealth spokesman.
Some consumers may have to say they started their applications before March 31 open enrollment deadline, but others may not have to do that, eHealth said.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) now requires insurers to sell new individual coverage on a guaranteed-issue basis. The only personal health information the insurers can use when pricing the coverage is age. Federal and state regulators created the open enrollment calendar to discourage consumers from waiting until they get sick to pay for coverage.
But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has given consumers who say they started applications for commercial “qualified health plan” (QHP) coverage at the exchanges until April 15 to complete the applications.
Officials and the QHP issuers are hoping extending the deadline will help the QHPs attract more healthy young customers.
Some states-run exchanges have created “special enrollment periods” that let many or all residents complete applications after March 31.
Some insurers, including Health Net, are offering similar deadline extensions outside the exchange system.
“We want to make it easy for consumers to purchase insurance, whether it’s on or off the exchange,” Health Net spokesman Brad Kieffer said by telephone. “We’re just making our off-exchange deadlines consistent with what’s taking place on the exchange.”