ACA enrollment change could lock members into plans with higher premiums

Auto-enrollment for individuals purchasing plans on the public health insurance exchanges will take place after open enrollment ends Dec. 15, according to The Washington Post.

Under the ACA, individuals who purchased coverage on the exchanges one year are automatically re-enrolled in the same plan the next year. Roughly 2.8 million of the 12 million individuals who were covered under exchange plans this year were re-enrolled in the same plan for 2018. They were also sent notices encouraging them to shop around for more affordable or comprehensive coverage.

According to a federal document obtained by The Washington Post, automatic re-enrollment will take place Dec. 16. This is the day after enrollees can make changes to plans, and may leave consumers stuck in policies with higher premiums for next year.

For the past three years, HHS started auto-enrolling consumers on Dec. 16. But the sign-up period ran until Jan. 31, so those automatically enrolled in plans could shop around to choose a different plan or drop coverage if they did not like the auto-enrolled plan.

CMS told The Washington Post Friday, "Similar to Medicare's open-enrollment period, if you miss the deadline to enroll in a plan of your choice, you will not be able to make any changes to your plan until the next coverage year." The only exception is a small portion of enrollees eligible for a special enrollment period.

CMS did not explicitly confirm the auto-enrollment date, according to the report.

For the full report, click here

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