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Exchange Enrollment Deadline Extended to Dec. 17 for Jan. 1 Coverage

Tuesday, December 22, 2015
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HHS gave individuals two extra days (until Dec. 17, 2015) to enroll through an Exchange in order for coverage to be effective Jan. 1, 2016.

• On Dec. 15, 2015, HHS extended the enrollment deadline for Jan. 1 Exchange coverage.
• Individuals have until 11:59 p.m. PST on Dec. 17, 2015, to enroll in Exchange coverage for it to be effective Jan. 1, 2016.
• The enrollment deadline extension does not apply to plans offered outside of the Exchange.
• Individuals can still enroll in coverage through an Exchange after Dec. 17, 2015, until the open enrollment period closes on Jan. 31, 2016.

On Dec. 15, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the deadline for enrolling through an Exchange in order for coverage to be effective Jan. 1 by 48 hours. According to HHS, this extended deadline was provided due to unprecedented demand at Healthcare.gov and the Exchange call center.

As a result, individuals have until 11:59 p.m. PST on Dec. 17, 2015, to enroll in Exchange coverage in order for it to be effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Exchange Enrollment Deadlines

The Exchange open enrollment period for 2016 began on Nov. 1, 2015, and runs through Jan. 31, 2016. HHS originally set an enrollment deadline of Dec. 15, 2015, for coverage to be effective Jan. 1, 2016.

However, due to a high volume of individuals seeking to obtain coverage before the Dec. 15, 2015, deadline, HHS gave individuals two extra days (until Dec. 17, 2015) to enroll through the Exchange in order for coverage to be effective Jan. 1, 2016.

A Jan. 1, 2016, effective date means that the individual must receive coverage for any services received on or after that date, even if the individual’s enrollment and premium payment have not been processed by that time.

The enrollment deadline extension does not apply to plans offered outside of an Exchange. However, issuers can extend their enrollment date to align it with Exchange coverage.

Later Enrollments

Individuals can still enroll in coverage through an Exchange after Dec. 17, 2015, until the 2016 open enrollment period closes on Jan. 31, 2016. However, any coverage enrolled in after Dec. 17, 2015, will become effective no earlier than Feb. 1, 2016.

Coverage effective dates for the 2016 open enrollment period will generally be as follows:

• If a plan selection is made on or before Dec. 17, 2015, coverage will be effective Jan. 1, 2016.
• If a plan selection is made between Dec. 18, 2015, and Jan. 1, 2016, coverage will be effective Feb. 1, 2016.
• If a plan selection is made between Jan. 1, 2016, and Jan. 31, 2016, coverage will be effective March 1, 2016.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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