First federal plan selection deadline nearsNews added by Benefits Pro on December 20, 2013
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By Allison Bell

As a key federal exchange plan selection deadline nears, sellers still face enrollment system problems.

Consumers who want commercial individual coverage to start Jan. 1 now have until Jan. 10 to pay for coverage, thanks to the carriers themselves.

But, to have coverage in place Jan. 1, consumers still have to pick a plan by Dec. 23.

Covered California and many other state-based exchanges also are sticking to a Dec. 23 plan selection deadline.

The original Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchange plan enrollment deadline was Dec. 15.

Open enrollment runs until March 31, but consumers who sign up for plans after Dec. 23 might not have coverage in place until Feb. 1, at the earliest.

Officially, Monday is a work day, but many schools are starting their winter break as early as midday on Friday, and some employers will already be operating with skeleton crews Monday.

EHealth, the parent of eHealthInsurance.com, is trying to draw attention to what it says continue to be serious concerns about the stability of HealthCare.gov.

The company has helped many consumers buy full-price, unsubsidized exchange plans directly from carriers, but efforts to use HealthCare.gov to help consumers qualify for tax credits disappointed. The company is telling consumers who hoped to use its site to sign up for subsidized coverage to try their state’s sites first.

Another Web broker entity, GoHealth, has publicized a major effort to help consumers get tax credits through a HealthCare.gov connection, but it’s balancing the effort by advertising a push to make licensed advisors available through Walgreens.

Carriers – especially the newer, smaller ones hoping the exchanges would level the playing field – are scrambling for attention.

In New Jersey, for example, a state with a federal exchange, a governor who’s declined to help promote it, and no major network television stations of its own, HealthCare.gov has had trouble building awareness.

Representatives for one of the New Jersey exchange plan providers, Health Republic Insurance – a CO-OP – were standing outside train stations recently, trying to drum up a few sales by giving away purple Health Republic Insurance jump ropes.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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