Does the open enrollment extension work the same in every state?

April 16, 2014

Q. Does the open enrollment extension work the same in every state?

A. No. If you’re in one of the following 36 states where HHS is running the exchange, as long as you began your application by March 31, you had until April 15 to complete your enrollment. You’ll have to check a blue box on when you enroll, testifying to the fact that you tried to enroll by March 31 but were unable to finish your application in time.

People who are using paper applications in these states needed to have their applications submitted by April 7.

New Mexico is a state-federal partnership exchange, so while it relies on HHS for enrollment, the exchange also has state involvement. The exchange set up a waiting list on its website where enrollees could enter a name and contact information in order to qualify for an extension and help with completing their enrollment. New Mexico Applicants who began their enrollment by March 31 had until April 15 to complete the process.

If you’re in a state that is running its own exchange, nearly all of them are offering some sort of extension, but they vary in scope from one state to another.  Here’s how they each work:

  • Oregon: This is the only state where general open enrollment has been extended with no requirement that the application be started by March 31.  In the Oregon exchange (Cover Oregon), open enrollment has been extended until April 30.

Most of the other state-run exchanges are offering extensions that are contingent on the applicant beginning the enrollment process by the end of the day on March 31:

  • California: People who started their application by 11:59 p.m. on March 31 had until April 15 to complete their Covered California enrollment.
  • Colorado: People who submitted their financial assistance application by March 31 have until as late as the end of May to complete their Connect for Health Colorado enrollment if they have not yet received their Medicaid denial.  But people who received their 1B case number (Medicaid denial – the first part of the enrollment process in Colorado) by March 31 needed to complete their enrollment by April 15.  In addition, the exchange has granted a blanket extension for everyone, allowing late enrollment even for people who did not begin the process by March 31.  In that case, the applicants had until April 15 to complete their enrollment.
  • District of Columbia:People who need phone or in-person assistance with their DC Health Link applications had until April 15 to complete their enrollment.  And people who are enrolling online had until April 15 to make their plan selections, as long as they had their exchange account created by March 31.
  • Hawaii: People who started their Hawaii Health Connector enrollment (completed the Medicaid application, which is the first step in the process) by March 31 will be allowed additional time to finish the enrollment process.  If they didn’t yet have their Medicaid denial (necessary for subsidy eligibility in the exchange) by March 31, they had until April 15 to complete their enrollment.
  • Kentucky: For applications that were completed by March 31, the applicants had until April 15 to make their plan selections.  But following very high demand and traffic in the final days of open enrollment, Kynect announced an additional open enrollment period starting on April 4 and continuing through April 11.
  • Maryland: Maryland Health Connection applicants who started their application, attempted to enroll, or spoke with a call center representative by March 31 have until April 18 to finish their enrollment.
  • Massachusetts: MNsure applicants who were unable to complete their enrollment by March 31 due to technical issues had until April 15 to finish the process.
  • Minnesota: Applicants who started their enrollment by March 31 but were unable to finish it because of technical glitches have until April 22 to complete their enrollment.  They must pay their first premium by April 30.
  • Nevada: People who began their enrollment at Nevada Health Link by March 31 but didn’t complete it will have an additional two months to finish their enrollment.
  • New York: The deadline remained March 31, but the exchange (NY State of Healthwill work with people who began their application by that date but were unable to finish because of technical problems with the site.  These applicants had until April 15 to finish their enrollment.
  • Vermont: Applicants who began the process of enrolling by March 31 will be allowed to complete their enrollment after that date, with assistance from Vermont Health Connect.
  • Washington: Washington Healthplanfinder did not changing its March 31 enrollment deadline.  But the exchange has said that it will work on a case-by-case basis to assist people who experienced technical problems and were unable to complete their enrollment by March 31.
  • Connecticut:  Access Health CT held out until the last minute, sticking fast to the March 31 enrollment deadline until late in the day on Monday, March 31.  But as volume slowed the website (and the Federal Data Service Hub that the site uses to verify information) and consumers began encountering problems, the exchange agreed to allow an extension for enrollees who called the call center by midnight on March 31 and left a message (1-855-805-HEALTH).  About 10,000 people did so, and the exchange is working through the list to contact them all and help them complete their enrollment.
  • Rhode Island:  Health Source RI had also maintained the March 31 deadline, and had not announced any extensions as of Monday evening.  But late on Monday night, their website had a large message saying “Tried to enroll but couldn’t get through?  Call our contact center to see if you qualify for a special open enrollment period.”  That message was still on the site as of April 15.  Residents who ran into difficulty trying to apply should call 1-855-840-HSRI to talk with someone at the exchange and see if they can still enroll.


Tags: Access Health CT, Connect for Health Colorado, Covered California, DC Health Link, enrollment extension, Hawaii Health Connector, health insurance exchange, health insurance marketplace, Health Source RI, Kynect, Maryland Health Connection, MNsure, Nevada Health Link, NY State of Health, open enrollment, special enrollment period, Vermont Health Connect, Washington Healthplanfinder

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