(Bloomberg) — For Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) procrastinators, time’s up.
Yesterday was the last day of a two-week open enrollment period extension for hundreds of thousands of people who failed to choose individual “qualified health plans” by March 31.
March 31 was supposed to be the deadline for consumers who wanted to sign up for individual QHP coverage for on a fully guaranteed-issue basis.
The Obama administration announced a two-week extension March 25. Officials said they would make the extension available to any consumers who said they had technical problems or other problems that kept them from finishing the enrollment process on time.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent e-mail reminders yesterday to people who had created accounts on healthcare.gov without completing their enrollment.
“This is your final chance to get 2014 coverage,” the e-mails said.
Starting today, Americans can sign up for QHPs through the exchanges only if they experience a life-changing event such as marriage, the birth of a child or the loss of a job, or if they get a hardship exemption for some other reason.
The enrollment period for 2015 individual QHPs begins Nov. 15.
The individual QHP enrollment schedule does not affect Medicaid, group coverage or temporary individual health insurance.
Regulators and insurance companies developed the individual QHP enrollment schedule to try to keep consumers from waiting until they get sick to pay for coverage.
In practice, because of efforts to limit antiselection throughout the individual health insurance market, the QHP enrollment schedule now affects sales of most ordinary individual major medical coverage.
About 7.5 million people had picked QHP plans by April 10, according to outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Before Oct. 1, when the QHP open enrollment period started, the Congressional Budget Office had estimated the QHPs would attract 7 million enrollees by the end of 2014.