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The 2018 open enrollment period is not scheduled to begin until the fall of 2017. … Shorter open enrollment period for 2018 – The 2018 Obamacare open enrollment period is currently scheduled to run from November 1, 2017 through January 31, 2018
No, the promised “repeal and replace” of the ACA (also known as Obamacare) hasn’t happened yet, but Mr Price’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) has issued proposed guidelines that would affect consumers during 2018’s Obamacare open enrollment period.
Let’s take a look at some of the proposed changes:
- Shorter open enrollment period for 2018 – The 2018 Obamacare open enrollment period is currently scheduled to run from November 1, 2017 through January 31, 2018. DHS’s proposed change cut the duration of the the open enrollment period by half so that it runs from November 1 through December 15, 2017.
- Some loosening of benefit requirements – The Obamacare law sets strict guidelines for “minimum essential coverage” that all major medical health insurance plans must provide. Though details are not yet available, DHS is proposing to loosen these rules somewhat, allowing insurers to offer plans with a broader range of coverage options.
- More supporting documentation required for special enrollment periods – Outside of the nationwide open enrollment period, consumers can only purchase coverage on their own when they experience a major life change, such as marriage or divorce, or the birth or adoption of a baby, etc. A proposed revision of rules would tighten the requirements for applicants to provide documentation proving their eligibility for a special enrollment period.
- Changes to doctor network rules – Under Obamacare, the federal government sets standards for what constitutes an adequate network of participating doctors and medical facilities for major medical plans. A proposed change from DHS would allow states to set these limits for themselves instead.
- Collection of overdue premiums – In a move designed to discourage applicants from neglecting to pay their monthly premiums near year’s end and simply re-enrolling with the same plan for January, a proposed DHS rule would allow insurers to collect overdue premiums before extending coverage to such applicants in the next year.
Obamacare’s SHOP could be facing a big chop.
Citing very low enrollment, the Trump administration on Monday proposed that beginning in 2018 small businesses would no longer be able to enroll workers in health insurance plans through the federal Obamacare marketplace HealthCare.gov
A top Trump health official said the suggested move was prompted by the failure of Obamacare to provide affordable health coverage through the SHOP program “to small businesses and to the American people.”
Nationally, there are fewer than 233,000 people covered via SHOP plans — far short of the 4 million people that the Congressional Budget Office in 2014 had predicted would be covered by this year.
The program, formally called the Small Business Health Options Program, is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time workers.
Under the proposal announced Monday, small businesses in the 33 states served by HealthCare.gov for SHOP would still use that exchange to determine their eligibility for the program.
But they would have to buy health coverage for employees from an insurance agent or broker, or from an insurance company directly.