The interim final rule amends the date by which a qualified individual must select a qualified health plan (QHP) through any Exchange for an effective coverage date of January 1, 2014. The rule generally allows consumers to select a QHP until December 23, 2013, which is a change from the previously stated regulatory date of December 15, 2013, but permits State Exchanges to select a different date. It also establishes a related policy regarding the date by which a consumer needs to pay any applicable initial premium to ensure timely effectuation of coverage. Generally, issuers can set the payment deadline, as long as it is no earlier than the last day before the coverage effective date. For example, for January 1 coverage, the payment could be due December 31 or after. Furthermore, issuers are encouraged to provide January 1 coverage to consumers who enroll after the December 23 date, including enrollments as late as January 31. This is optional for the issuer.
The new policy pertains to the individual market and Small Business Health Options Program in both the Federally-facilitated Exchanges and State Exchanges. However, it does not change the plan selection or premium payment dates for coverage offered outside of the Exchanges.
The Interim Final Rule can be found here: Maximizing January 1, 2014 Coverage
Press Release: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/12/20131212a.html.
The Secretary’s blog: What We’re Doing to Help Americans Get Coverage