March 31 deadline stands but special enrollment periods are set for people having trouble signing up
The Obama administration has announced that people who initially fail to complete all the steps to confirm their identity or their eligibility to enroll in the federal marketplace exchanges will still be able to complete applications for insurance if they miss the March 31 deadline. If a person attests they made an effort to enroll by the deadline, federal officials will help make sure they can complete the process and get covered. Additional special enrollment periods may be available for people who face complicated circumstances that prevent them from completing enrollment by March 31. SEIU supports these special enrollment periods as a reasonable accommodation to those seeking healthcare coverage.
Open enrollment still ends March 31 at midnight (EST). If you don’t have healthcare now and haven’t started the process for sign-up by the March 31 deadline, you won’t be able to enroll in marketplace coverage again until November.
The special enrollment period through mid-April makes sure people who have had trouble signing up will be covered provided they are in line to enroll by the March 31 deadline – either online or over the phone – by giving them longer to get the help they need to complete their enrollment. It’s a bit like Election Day, when you get to vote as long as you are in line by the time the polls close.
Anyone who tries to complete enrollment after March 31 will have to attest to the fact that they attempted to enroll — through the website, call center or even a state Medicaid or CHIP agency – before then. If, through no fault of their own they were not able to complete enrollment, they can request an extension to complete the process by mid-April.
Other special enrollment periods will allow people with challenging circumstances and complex cases to get help to complete the process, such as women facing domestic abuse, those who have trouble enrolling due to immigration status or people who were found to be ineligible for Medicaid.
These special enrollment periods are not an extension of the open enrollment period. The healthcare law had accounted for these sorts of circumstances and these policies build on and clarify existing operational processes to support consumers.