Federal Health Insurance Exchange 2018 Open Enrollment
The Federal Health Insurance Exchange Open Enrollment period runs from November 1, 2017, to December 15, 2017, with coverage starting on January 1, 2018. This year the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking a strategic and cost-effective approach to inform individuals about Open Enrollment.
Link Effective ON Nov 1, 2017 Then click on Left side Link which states: Marketplace Health Insurance.
Health insurance rates increased for 2018 and then Silver plan rates increased more, due to Executive Order by Trump Oct 12, 2017 recinding CRS's.
As in previous years, consumers who are currently enrolled are encouraged to come back and update their information, shop, and pick a plan that best suits their health care needs before the December 15 deadline.
Re-Enrollees: Consumers who are currently enrolled in a plan receive notices from the Marketplace prior to November 1 about the upcoming the Open Enrollment period. These notices provide consumers with the new dates for this year’s Open Enrollment and the importance of returning during this time to update their application and actively re-enroll in a plan for 2018, as well as customized messaging for their situation such as if they’re at risk of losing tax credits. Consumers also receive notices from their current issuer with important information about premiums, coverage and benefit changes, and plan availability for 2018.
Discontinued Plans: Consumers whose 2017 plan isn’t available for 2018 will receive a discontinuation notice from their current issuer by the start of Open Enrollment. Those consumers may also receive a letter from the Marketplace notifying them that they have been matched them with an alternate plan from a different issuer to help avoid a gap in coverage. Consumers are not under any obligation to stay with this plan and are encouraged to take action and choose a plan by December 15. Consumers with discontinued plans are eligible for a loss of coverage Special Enrollment Period.
Automatic Re-enrollment: As in previous years, CMS will automatically re-enroll consumers that don’t actively re-enroll by December 15, 2017 into their same or similar plan. The Marketplace will send a notice to those consumers that were automatically re-enrolled. Similar to Medicare’s Open Enrollment period, consumers who miss the deadline to enroll in a plan of their choice will not be able to make any plan changes until the next coverage year unless they qualify for certain Special Enrollment Periods. Most consumers whose plan isn’t available in 2018 will be automatically re-enrolled into a plan from a different issuer to avoid a gap in coverage – these consumers will need to pay their premium for January in order for this coverage to begin. Consumers whose issuer isn’t offering their plan in 2018 are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period due to losing coverage and have the opportunity to choose a different plan.
CONSUMER CALL CENTER:
The Call Center is often the front line of assistance for consumers as they apply for coverage and compare plan options. Last year, CMS’ call center staffing peaked at 11,000 people during Open Enrollment. CMS plans to have the same amount of staff this year. In order to help prepare the Call Center representatives to handle high consumer demand, CMS is providing extensive training to call center staff and weekly refreshers throughout the enrollment period. This year CMS will pilot a new feature at times during Open Enrollment to give consumers the option to request a call-back without losing their place in line, rather than waiting on hold.
In addition to the Call Center, CMS will continue to provide in-person assistance to help consumers with enrollment. This includes federally funded Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, and local agents and brokers.
Premium tax credits will be available in 2018 for individuals who qualify. Consumers can continue to use Exchange coverage and take advantage of its benefits, including premium tax credits. Plans available from insurance companies will continue to reflect reduced copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles for eligible consumers.
HealthCare.gov Waiting Rooms
Similar to previous years, CMS may deploy a “waiting room” when website traffic is high for some consumers logging in or creating an account on HealthCare.gov. The waiting room is one tool we utilize to optimize a consumers’ experience because it allows us to control the volume of users resulting in better performance of the website. Consumers see a message asking them to stay on the page. The waiting room will refresh when a consumer can continue to apply and enroll with a smooth experience.