Nov. 22—The Obama administration plans to delay for one month next year’s enrollment period for private insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act and will extend the enrollment period by one week.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to issue formal rules to delay the start of the open enrollment in 2014 from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, and to push back the end of the enrollment period from Dec. 7 to Jan. 15, a CMS official confirmed to HFMA.

“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,” a spokesperson said.

Another change would delay for a month the April 30 deadline for insurance companies to submit 2015 marketplace plan applications, which set the prices based on their 2014 enrollment experience.

The change aims to “give issuers the benefit of more time to evaluate their experiences during the 2014 plan year and allow them to take into account those who may enroll late, including young adults, before setting 2015 rates,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The agency acknowledged that the delays also would give both state- and federally operated marketplaces, also known as exchanges, more time to make sure their systems for open enrollment are ready.

Enrollment in the 14 state-run marketplaces and the 36-state federal exchange are far below projections because of widespread and ongoing technical failures that most of them have experienced since the Oct. 1 start of open enrollment for 2014 coverage.

The change would not impact Medicaid enrollment, which will be continuous through 2014, a CMS official said.

The coming enrollment change also would not affect the ongoing enrollment for 2014 plans. Those plans are still slated to begin coverage on Jan. 1. 

Publication Date: Friday, November 22, 2013