The Obama administration will delay the start of next year’s ObamaCare enrollment period, conveniently pushing the second round of enrollment past the 2014 midterm elections.
The administration also plans to push a narrative that the move is a way to give consumers and insurance companies more time to study their options. But this is just the latest in several instances of delaying the inevitable disasters of the law to avoid electoral defeats.
A Department of Health and Human Services official confirmed the change this morning. The decision will not affect consumers who are trying to enroll this year. Rather, it affects those who will sign up late next year for 2015 coverage, when those with employer-sponsored coverage are thrown off of their plans due to Essential Health Benefit Standards (Read PPD Sudy: 145 Million Americans Will Lose Their Health Plans).
The Obama administration has again acted to change the law unilaterally, allowing consumers to start signing up on November 15, 2014, as opposed to October 15. ObamaCare enrollment will last until Jan. 15, 2015, rather than December 7, as the law states.
An HHS official told Fox News the move will give insurers “the benefit of more time to evaluate their experiences during the 2014 plan year” and allow insurers to take into account late-filing customers when setting their 2015 rates.
The official added, “This change is good news for consumers, who will have more time to learn about plans before enrolling and an open enrollment period that’s a week longer.”
The administration refuses the growing number of calls — from both Republicans and Democrats — to delay or extend the current ObamaCare enrollment period beyond March 31, 2014, despite the fact that repairing the broken HealthCare.gov site is nowhere near finished, and some states continuing to struggle with their own exchanges, as well.
But by pushing off next year’s ObamaCare enrollment period, the administration conveniently pushes off the ObamaCare-induced coverage lapses, as well as other politically unpopular aspects to the law’s consequences, until after the midterm elections.
Obama announced a so-called “fix” prior, which allowed states and insurance companies to re-offer cancelled insurance policies. Yet many states and insurers, however, are refusing to make any changes to the way they handle those plans, as they were just complying with the law’s Essential Health Benefit Standards, and to change or reverse forward planning now would create more chaos in the insurance market.
HHS argued that the delay next year will give consumers more time to educate themselves about the plans, presumably a response to the record number of Americans who want the law repealed, but it would not affect coverage this year.