The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) today proposed shortening the open enrollment period for Obamacare, virtually cutting it in half, while also lowering the benefits and coverage standards for health insurers. The latter is designed to stabilize and eventually lower premiums.
The proposed new enrollment period for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is set to run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2017. All four previous open enrollments lasted from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31.
Additionally, the rule would lower the “de minimis range used for determining the level of coverage.” The level of coverage refers to the bronze, silver and gold plans offered under the ACA on its marketplaces.
“This proposal will take steps to stabilize the marketplace, provide more flexibility to states and insurers, and give patients access to more coverage options,” said Patrick Conway, acting CMS administrator. “They will help protect Americans enrolled in the individual and small group health insurance markets while future reforms are being debated.”
Among other things, the proposed rule will allow insurers to delay yearly renewals until the policyholders catch up on any payments owed; will require more proof and documentation for those who want to sign up for ACA policies outside of the open enrollment period; and will give insurers more time to set the policy rates for 2018. On the latter, CMS said it would be releasing separate guidance.
The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, Feb. 17. Meanwhile, you can download an unpublished PDF version.