The Patient Protection and Affordable Act enrollment deadline — March 31 — has come and gone. Well, kind of.
Laura Adams, senior analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com, says there are still plenty of options for consumers who want sign up for coverage. Here are four of them.
Not all deadlines are created equal.
Though PPACA plan enrollment technically ended March 31, the administration extended the date to April 15 for consumers who struggled to sign up using the website. And other state-based exchanges also have extended their deadlines.
Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, D.C., have extended their enrollment deadlines to April 30, while Nevada extended theirs to May 31. Massachusetts also extended their deadline to June 30 for residents who’ve been affected by online delays.
The latest PPACA deadline extension announced now gives sick patients more time to enroll in Obamacare plans, as well.
This week, the Obama administration said sick patients in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan — the temporary, federal program that offers coverage to patients once turned away by carriers — now will have until June 30 to select an exchange health plan. After three previous extensions, coverage for PCIP enrollees will end April 30. But those left in the pool get another two months to enroll in a plan at HealthCare.gov.
People with qualifying life events can enroll in health insurance year-round. And, those with qualifying life events also have a little extra time for enrolling in Obamacare.
Life events — such as getting married or divorced, having a child, a change in income, relocating to a new area or losing existing health coverage — entitle people to a special 60-day grace period to use the exchanges, Adams explains.
Some brokers have predicted the special enrollment market will be big for them this year.
Also read: Feds post ‘special enrollment’ guide
Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program never stop taking in new enrollees.
The Obama administration said earlier this month that enrollment in Medicaid, the government health program for the poor, increased by 3 million people in February from October. Enrollment in the 26 states that expanded Medicaid under PPACA increased by 8.3 percent, compared with 1.6 percent in states that didn’t, according to government reports.
Photo: Enrollment counselor Kenya Williams helps Jerome Davis Jr. 36, sign up for Medicaid at the Westside Health Authority in Chicago. AP/M. Spencer Green.
If all else fails, Adams says, consumers can sign up for a short-term health plan to bridge the gap until the next open enrollment in the fall.
“However, these plans may not meet PPACA’s requirements for minimum essential coverage and can deny coverage based upon pre-existing conditions,” Adams says. ”Policyholders may still have to pay $95 or 1 percent of income for lacking compliant health insurance.”