As we celebrate the 7 million and counting Americans with new coverage, it is important to remember the window hasn’t closed for everyone still seeking coverage.
I volunteered at an enrollment event on March 31 in Dublin, California and I can tell you personally of the many people who tried to enroll, wanted to enroll, and were unable to finish before the deadline. In addition, I have been corresponding by email and phone with patients, friends, colleagues, and community members all across the state with similar stories. Luckily for them, and for many people you may know, there is an opportunity to finish their enrollment.
The Special Enrollment Periods allow people to enroll in health coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period, if they previously tried to enroll but couldn’t through no fault of their own. Those who tried to enroll in health coverage any time before midnight on March 31 and didn’t finish, can still get coverage for 2014 -- but they must act quickly.
Patients must finish enrollment by April 15 to get coverage for 2014. If they enroll by April 15, their coverage will begin May 1.
WHO ELSE WILL QUALIFY THE FOR
SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIODS?
- Exceptional circumstances
- Misinformation or misrepresentation by a non-Marketplace enrollment assister
- Enrollment error
- System errors related to immigration status
- Display errors on Healthcare.gov
- Medicaid/Marketplace transfers
- Error messages which stopped your application
- Unresolved casework
- Victims of domestic abuse who were not allowed to enroll
- Other system errors that kept you from enrolling
And don't forget Medicaid patients and those who have a qualifying life event like getting married, having a baby, moving to a new area, or losing other health coverage can enroll all year round!
Additional materials from HHS:
Patients must request a Special Enrollment Period and can do so by dialing the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 or visiting Healthcare.gov/marketplace/ to make the request in their state-based Marketplace. It's important to check with your state exchange as some states have different deadlines.
We will continue to share information with you as it becomes available. Please continue to share your feedback on what's working with special enrollment periods and as you see newly uninsured patients.
Carolyn is a Preventive Medicine Resident at the University of California San Diego and the State Director of California Doctors for America.