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#851

Post by Foggy »

Deadline extended from today at midnight to [link]tomorrow at midnight,http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi- ... 5055.story[/link].Get 'er done before Santa Claus comes!
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Obamacare / Health Care

#852

Post by Volkonski »

My daughter still has not gotten the email info from the insurance company about paying for her Obamacare policy. Anyone know what we should do about that?
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Obamacare / Health Care

#853

Post by Foggy »

Contact the insurance company immediately.But don't panic. There's also going to be a "special enrollment period" if you tried but couldn't get signed up. From my link above:"We'll have a special enrollment period," the official said last week, for "all those who make a good faith effort to get enrolled by the deadline" but fail to do so.
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Obamacare / Health Care

#854

Post by Volkonski »

Contact the insurance company immediately.But don't panic. There's also going to be a "special enrollment period" if you tried but couldn't get signed up. From my link above:"We'll have a special enrollment period," the official said last week, for "all those who make a good faith effort to get enrolled by the deadline" but fail to do so.Thanks!
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listeme
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Obamacare / Health Care

#855

Post by listeme »

Contact the insurance company immediately.But don't panic. There's also going to be a "special enrollment period" if you tried but couldn't get signed up. From my link above:"We'll have a special enrollment period," the official said last week, for "all those who make a good faith effort to get enrolled by the deadline" but fail to do so.Ooh. That's actually awesome.
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#856

Post by verbalobe »

I'm seeing questions I didn't remember seeing on our first run-through, about eligibility for coverage "through an employer, including through COBRA"





Are we compelled to use the COBRA plan offered through my employer??





We answered "no" but are concerned that they'll see we have COBRA eligibility, and cancel the Exchange coverage.





Help?





The COBRA package would be $1,180/mo in 2014, which we certainly can't begin to afford.

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mimi
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#857

Post by mimi »

I tried to get help via the phone and live chat a few times. I'm glad for the extra time.

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#858

Post by TollandRCR »

For a roll out as botched as has been that of the ACA, an extension by one day approaches being insulting.
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Obamacare / Health Care

#859

Post by Foggy »

Umm, that was the second extension; the first was 8 days. The original deadline was Dec. 15. Remember, the only "deadline" here is so your coverage starts Jan. 1.





If you sign up Thursday, your coverage starts Feb. 1, but you get the same coverage as everyone else, and no penalty. You just get coverage a month later. Your only hard and fast deadline (but who knows whether it will be extended too) is March 31, in which case your coverage starts May 1, but you get the same coverage as everyone else, and no penalty. That gives you:





Dec. -- 7 days left


Jan. - 31 days


Feb. - 28 days


Mar. - 31 days


Total: 97 days left in which you can enroll for 2014





What should the deadline be, so that your coverage starts Jan. 1? How about January 20? Feb. 15? Mar. 31?





Suppose on New Year's Day you get in an accident and get hospitalized, can you enroll from your hospital bed a few weeks later when you're up to it and still get coverage for the accident, because the website was screwed up for weeks? By the way, the website has been working very well the past few days. We've enrolled dozens of people on it.





I suspect the insurance companies need a few days to receive your enrollment, process it through the system, mail you your policy, and so forth, before you get coverage. Allowing you to sign up after you've suffered an accident or illness penalizes the insurance companies, but the insurance companies weren't responsible for the screwup of the website. They were victims of that screwup, in fact. So, IMHO, was the president. So were my wife and I. We'd have made a lot more money if the word hadn't spread for weeks that ObamaCare wasn't working and was a failure. That hurt our ability to put food on our fambly, as GWB would say.





Traditionally, you have to sign up by the 15th of one month if you want coverage to start on the 1st of the next month. It's weird enough to me that if you sign up in time, you get coverage even if you don't pay the premium until Jan. 10. Go ahead and have that accident on New Year's if you're signed up, and then have someone you know mail in the payment on Jan. 7 while you're still in the hospital. That's not how insurance has ever worked in the history of insurance, yanno.





Verbie, I'll ask the expert about that COBRA question when she wakes up. We haven't run into that AFAIK. If she doesn't haz an answer, we can call someone who does.
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Sterngard Friegen
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Obamacare / Health Care

#860

Post by Sterngard Friegen »

Old history now, but after COBRA there was HIPAA, so color me surprised that some people who had group insurance lost their coverage after the COBRA insurance ended.

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#861

Post by verbalobe »

Verbie, I'll ask the expert about that COBRA question when she wakes up. We haven't run into that AFAIK. If she doesn't haz an answer, we can call someone who does.Thanks.





We googled a bit, and found lots of articles about the pitfalls between COBRA and ACA, but most of them were of the flavor, "careful that you don't sign up for COBRA and end up paying more than you could if you signed up for ACA instead -- you won't be able to switch until the next open enrollment period."





Since THIS NOW is an open enrollment period, I assume that means I am entitled to "switch," even though I only signed up for COBRA a week ago, and only for the period Dec 15-Dec 31.





So it was very weird that when I answered the interview on healthcare.gov honestly (YES I am "eligible" for COBRA) that from that point forward it treated me exactly as if I was receiving employer-provided insurance as part of employment.





We hit the back button a few times and answered NO, and enrolled. I think what their interview question must have meant (re: COBRA) is: "will you be receiving coverage in the plan year through a COBRA plan...." Just badly worded.





To be safe, I will officially decline my COBRA as of Jan. 1. (And once you opt out, you can't restart it anyway, from what I understand.)





I would welcome any further intelligence on this. Meanwhile -- we're successfully enrolled!




Edit: An interesting, unrelated oddity with the Virginia plans, that we surmised is due to data translation issues across all the suppliers' systems and the exchange website: with the plans listed in order of cost, reading down the column with the monthly premium, the numbers went something like: $532, $571, $612, $677, $683, $5,395, $5,675...





There's no plan -- particularly a Bronze plan -- with a $5K monthly premium... is there?? So that must be a data error. But those have been showing like that since we started shopping weeks ago. Rather unfortunate that it hadn't been fixed -- what if it were simply a decimal error, and the $5,395 plan were really $539.50? It would compete with the $532 plan. Or even worse, what if the $5K is the annual premium, populated from the wrong data table? But as it is, none of those plans will be selected by anyone.





Other than that, I have been impressed with the steady improvements on healthcare.gov. I don't agree with all their design decisions, but at least it works.

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Obamacare / Health Care

#862

Post by Volkonski »

Once my daughter got all the paperwork she needed the website worked just fine. It says she is enrolled. I will feel better once we have a bill from the insurance company and have paid it. ;)
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#863

Post by Foggy »

Umm, the expert says she doesn't know the answer and doesn't know who we can talk to in order to find out the answer. It's a nightmare trying to talk to Blue Cross and they don't have experts answering the phones. Our supervising agency is closed today. I don't know what to suggest. 8>
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verbalobe
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#864

Post by verbalobe »

Verbie, if you're eligible for a COBRA plan, you can keep it or choose to buy a plan in the Marketplace.More, [link]here,https://www.healthcare.gov/what-if-i-cu ... -coverage/[/link].Edit: Make sure to click the questions button too. I don't know why they do that because some of the best info is under those more questions boxes. LikeIt’s important not to let your COBRA coverage end before your Marketplace plan begins. Otherwise there will be a gap in your coverage.Edit Again: Sorry, preview is your friend, meant to quote this. Expiring COBRA, like losing a job, is a qualifying event that allows enrollment outside open enrollment:Can I get a Marketplace plan once my COBRA expires even outside open enrollment? Yes. The expiration of your COBRA coverage creates a special enrollment period for you. After your COBRA coverage expires, you can get a Marketplace plan outside the open enrollment period.Thanks, that helps.The help page you link to doesn't seem to take account of the actual questions in the application itself. Here's what I submitted as a critique of the Help topic:The application process on healthcare.gov asks if you are "eligible for coverage from an employer, *including though COBRA*." I *am* *eligible* but as indicated by your info here I plan to DROP the COBRA coverage (which it appears I am free to do). But by answering "yes" to the fact that I am "eligible for COBRA", the rest of the application process treats the applicant as if they are OBLIGATED to maintain their "employer-sponsored" coverage. This is very confusing. I re-entered the application and answered "no", even though that was technically inaccurate. This allowed me to select an ACA marketplace plan.I *think* the application needs to make it clear that mere ELIGIBILITY for COBRA does not restrict your options for Marketplace coverage -- it's only if you actually HAVE COBRA coverage (and intend to keep it) that your options may be limited.Does this seem right, and make sense?

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#865

Post by Foggy »

Yes.
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#866

Post by TollandRCR »

This is the kind of fumbling that has far too much characterized the roll out of ACA:





CNN Breaking News Dec. 24, 2013


The Obama administration is offering help to people who, because of technical problems, miss a December 24 deadline to finish signing up for Obamacare.





A posting on HealthCare.gov says: "Tell our customer service representative that you've been trying to enroll and explain why you couldn't finish by the deadline. They can tell you what you can do to finish your enrollment and still get covered for 2014."





The agency responsible for overseeing HealthCare.gov earlier issued a statement saying that people who don't start the signup process by December 24 will have to wait until February for insurance coverage.
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Obamacare / Health Care

#867

Post by Curious Blue »

I'm seeing questions I didn't remember seeing on our first run-through, about eligibility for coverage "through an employer, including through COBRA"





Are we compelled to use the COBRA plan offered through my employer??





We answered "no" but are concerned that they'll see we have COBRA eligibility, and cancel the Exchange coverage.No, there's a specific regulation that says no-- I'll try to dig it up and then come back and post the link here.




Edit: OK, here it is:






Citation: 26 CFR 1.36B-2 - Eligibility for premium tax credit. Link: [/break1]law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/26/1.36B-2]http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/26/1.36B-2





(a) In general. An applicable taxpayer (within the meaning of paragraph (b) of this section) is allowed a premium assistance amount only for any month that one or more members of the applicable taxpayer’s family (the applicable taxpayer or the applicable taxpayer’s spouse or dependent)— (1) Is enrolled in one or more qualified health plans through an Exchange; and (2) Is not eligible for minimum essential coverage (within the meaning of paragraph (c) of this section) other than coverage described in section 5000A(f)(1)(C) (relating to coverage in the individual market).





(iv) Continuation coverage. An individual who may enroll in continuation coverage required under Federal law or a State law that provides comparable continuation coverage is eligible for minimum essential coverage only for months that the individual is enrolled in the coverage.The wording is kind of obtuse -- but what they are saying is that to be eligible to get a subsidy on the exchange, you can't be "eligible" for employer-sponsored coverage, but that the availability of COBRA ("continuation coverage") only works to exclude you from getting a subsidy for months that you are actually enrolled in COBRA.





This is also discussed in detail in Federal Register Vol 77.


Link: [/break1]gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-23/pdf/2012-12421.pdf]http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05 ... -12421.pdf








Commentators similarly asked if individuals who enroll in continuation coverage and then disenroll from it later during the year are treated as eligible for minimum essential coverage for the entire year. In response to these comments, the final regulations clarify that an individual is treated as eligible for minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan …. in continuation coverage only for months the individual is enrolled in the coverage.(at p. 30381)





So that's pretty clear that people can drop COBRA to go on the exchange. If you've never opted into COBRA in the first place, then there is no issue at all.





Of course this only applies to the issue of the premium assistance tax credit (subsidy) -- everyone is free to buy off the exchange for full cost -- so if your income puts you out of subsidy range, then there's no issue at all.

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#868

Post by Curious Blue »

Yes Kimba, I saw your link, I decided to link to the federal regulation and federal register because us lawyer-types just have a weird preference for reading convoluted language in written laws instead of just reading web sites. Probably from all of those years of having judges wanting us to cite authority or something. :roll:

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#869

Post by verbalobe »

Thank you so much for all this. Very reassuring, and makes perfect, logical sense (go figure!). But the application itself is certainly confusing and even a little alarming.


Of course this only applies to the issue of the premium assistance tax credit (subsidy) -- everyone is free to buy off the exchange for full cost -- so if your income puts you out of subsidy range, then there's no issue at all.Even without a subsidy, our Exchange plans (Bronze level) were substantially cheaper than the COBRA offering. Of course, that's nuts and oranges -- the COBRA plan is probably closer to Silver level, which we didn't price.

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#870

Post by verbalobe »

Yes, CB, healthcare.gov confirms that as [link]linked earlier,http://thefogbow.com/forum/viewtopic.ph ... 50#p573151[/link]





Edit: Rats, sorry, [link]here,https://www.healthcare.gov/what-if-i-cu ... -coverage/[/link]To be clear, I have not generally been confused by the various regulatory and help links, per se.





It is only in the direct context of the online application itself that it becomes confusing. I am in the practice of telling the truth on government forms.





Your info and CB's, along with earlier research I had done, reinforced my assurance that it was okay to represent myself in the online application as "not eligible for COBRA," even though I am actually eligible for COBRA -- in effect trusting that the creators of the online application were using unfortunate and imprecise terms, that resulted in conflating the effect of "being covered by an employer plan," and "being eligible for COBRA from a former employer."

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#871

Post by Curious Blue »

One reason that I linked to the federal regs is that there seems to be different and often confusing language used among the various state exchange sites and healthcare.gov -- and I definitely know (from personal experience) that the Covered Cal. site & forms seem to ask the wrong questions -- plus the telephone agents sometimes give the wrong answers. I'm confident enough to ignore the way the questions are worded and give the right answers-- but it definitely can be confusing. The COBRA issue generated a lot of discussion on another forum where I post. The logic behind it all is that the subsidies are reserved for people who don't have an alternative source of subsidized insurance, and are not meant to undermine the system of employer-sponsored & subsidized health insurance. So the rules are kind of written around the idea that the federal subsidies are there to help the people who can't get employer subsidies. But generally when a person leaves their job, the employer subsidy disappears -- so while the person has access to insurance, it generally is not "affordable." But I do think it was one of those areas where the statute was vague enough that it had to be filled in by a regulatory determination ... and I personally would have preferred that the regulations were written with more direct phrasing.In any case, it all comes down to subsidy eligibility -- not the policy itself. If someone who is not eligible for a subsidy -- (for example, because they are eligible to be on their spouse's employer plan) -- checks the wrong box in an application form and gets the insurance + subsidy -- that person would NOT have their insurance cancelled, but they could be determined ineligible at tax time and subject to the clawback provisions, requiring some or all of the money to be paid back. And that would be an IRS thing --- I anticipate that IRS will rely on informational forms and returns that can be connected to specific tax returns, like the W2s with health insurance info (see [/break1]irs.gov/uac/Form-W-2-Reporting-of-Employer-Sponsored-Health-Coverage]http://www.irs.gov/uac/Form-W-2-Reporti ... h-Coverage ) The cost of chasing down loose ends outside that framework probably exceeds the value of the subsidies .

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#872

Post by listeme »

Thank you so much, Curious Blue -- that explanation is very reassuring.
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#873

Post by Tomtech »

Another great Fogbow feature. Our own healthcare Navigator. =D> \ :D / :-bd :wave:

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