Today we learned that the deadline for consumers to enroll in coverage beginning January 1 has been extended to December 23 from the original December 15 deadline. Consumers will now have additional time to look at plans and decide which plan works for them and their families. As we know, applying for and enrolling in health coverage is a big decision for consumers to make, so this extension is welcome news. Assisters, navigators, and certified application counselors will now have extra time to assist consumers get through the application and enrollment process.
Anne Filipic, the President of Enroll America, had this to say: “Today’s announcement is great news for consumers, who now have more time to weigh their options and choose the plan that best fits their needs and budget. We’ve already had face-to-face conversations with tens of thousands of Americans who are planning to shop in the new Health Insurance Marketplace, and beginning in December, we’ll launch our ‘Coverage is Coming’ outreach push with more than a thousand of events across the country. Thanks to this extension, we’ll be able to reach even more uninsured consumers so that come January 1, even more families will have the peace of mind and security that comes with affordable, comprehensive health insurance.”
As the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has pointed out, consumers shopping for coverage in Massachusetts after their health reform was implemented visited the site an average of three to six times before committing to a plan. And given the initial issues many consumers have encountered with Healthcare.gov, this will likely be the case for those consumers as well.