December 17, 2018

Access Health extends 2019 enrollment period

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Access Health CT CEO James Michel.

The state's Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange over the weekend decided to extend its open enrollment period for 2019 coverage by a month, to Jan. 15.

Access Health CT announced Saturday that it was concerned about the potential for consumer confusion, following a Texas federal judge's ruling on Friday deeming the healthcare law's individual mandate unconstitutional.

Access Health CT said the ruling, which could be appealed to higher courts, doesn't change anything for 2019.

"We will not let this news get in the way of fulfilling our mission to reduce the rate of the uninsured and help Connecticut residents get health insurance coverage for them and their families," Access Health CEO James Michel said in a statement.

The extension makes the ongoing enrollment period in Connecticut roughly as long as it used to be, prior to a change in last year's enrollment window.

Anyone who enrolls between Dec. 16 and Jan. 15 would be covered for Feb. 1, the exchange said. Those who were automatically enrolled for January coverage, but wish to shop for a different policy, can still do so, with coverage effective in February, so long as they pay their January premium.

As of Friday, the day of the Texas court ruling and one day before the original enrollment deadline, Access Health was reporting 102,412 enrollees in non-Medicaid health plans offered on the exchange.

That's lower than the approximately 114,000 that signed up during last year's open enrollment period, but the numbers often shift depending on how many fail to pay their premiums in the early months of coverage.

For example, 106,475 individuals and families who enrolled for 2018 coverage had paid at least one month of premiums as of July 2018, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That was up from 92,697 the year prior.

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