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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Did You Miss Open Enrollment? Good News, It’s Been Extended

Every so often, things go wrong: your car battery dies and you’re late for work, you miss your flight, or Did You Miss Open Enrollment? Good News, It’s Been Extendedtraffic impedes you from getting to an important dinner on time. Sometimes things simply get in your way and there’s nothing you can do. This was the case with many individuals as they attempted to sign up for individual health insurance before the February 15th deadline.

Individuals who were unable to sign up for individual health insurance because of long waits or technical glitches are getting a break. The enrollment deadline to sign up for individual health insurance through the federally-facilitated Marketplace has been extended to February 22, 2015 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Most state-run Marketplaces have extended their enrollment deadline as well.

Long Waits and Technical Glitches to Blame

As individuals were signing up for individual health insurance, many experienced a technical glitch on the website and long waiting times on the phone which prevented them from verifying their income. However, the glitch was fixed saturday night and is up and running.

Because of the delay for consumers, CMS announced on Monday that it had issued a special enrollment period from February 16-22 for those individuals affected by the glitch. States who utilize their own exchange have outlined their new deadlines as well and can be found on their respective sites.

So, is everything the same for individuals needing to enroll for individual health insurance? No, there are minor changes.

States With Extensions

All but three states, Hawaii, Kentucky and Vermont, had announced extensions to extend open enrollment by Monday afternoon. The 36 states who do not have their own exchange will utilize the federally-facilitated Healthcare.gov to sign up for health insurance. Individuals using a state-run Health Insurance Marketplace should verify deadlines with their state’s website.

Minor Changes to Enrollment Process

For individuals who missed the original February 15th deadline, they can purchase individual health insurance through the federally-facilitated Marketplace (Healthcare.gov) or their state’s Health Insurance Marketplace (as long as their state has extended the deadline). It’s important for individuals to note that, if they sign up during this special enrollment period, their coverage will not begin until March 1, 2015.

Key Things to Remember

  • Special enrollment is extended to February 22, 2015 for the federally-facilitated Marketplace.

  • States with their own Health Insurance Marketplace have set their own deadlines for enrollment and individuals should check to see what that deadline is.

  • Sign up for individual health insurance is done through Healthcare.gov, by phone, or through individuals’ state Health Insurance Marketplace.

  • During this special enrollment period, the earliest  coverage start date is March 1, 2015.

Did you experience long waiting times or glitches as you signed up for individual health insurance? Comment below and let us know.

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