Despite the Obama administration’s social media campaign and PSA’s to the contrary, the jury’s not all in about Obamacare yet. Actually, everyone who would be eligible and may want to sign up may not have done so yet. But some still have the chance to enroll even though open enrollment has been closed since March 31, 2014.
Because of the almost-disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act with delay after delay during open enrollment, the Department of Health and Human Services has offered yet another extension. Peter Lee, Covered California’s chief, explains that the state’s site for ACA coverage encountered an IT glitch and admits they didn’t make the options available to COBRA participants clear, focusing on those without insurance rather than COBRA conversions.
This is good news not only for those who need coverage, but for businesses as well. Because notifications about COBRA options were difficult to understand and caused confusion, those enrolled in the program now have until July 1 to enroll, a full three months after the end of open enrollment.
Health and Human Services announced that people who have their health coverage through COBRA – the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – get extra time to enroll in Obamacare if they still want to. This can mean a lot of savings because those who want COBRA coverage must pay the full premiums and administrative fees, while coverage under Obamacare can mean more affordable subsidized health insurance.
Enrollees aren’t the only ones who benefit from this enrollment extension. Businesses see benefits from the ACA COBRA extension in the areas of insurance savings at renewal time and reduced COBRA exposure from moving COBRA participants to ACA coverage through information and education. With the possibility of moving COBRA participants off of the more expensive and compliance-intensive coverage to the more affordable coverage is a win-win for everyone.
With about 300,000 consumers in California on COBRA coverage, this extension could potentially help a lot of people, although Covered California is warning those who are considering dropping COBRA coverage that they can’t change back once they enroll in Obamacare.
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