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CMS extends enrollment deadline for consumers who are asked to leave a message

The agency is allowing those who get a message when calling the marketplace call center to enroll in a plan after the December 15 deadline.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

The highest traffic volume of this year's open lagging enrollment season was on Monday, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Open enrollment ends Saturday, December 15, with coverage beginning on January 1, 2019.

As in past years, CMS has seen an uptick in the volume of  consumers using Healthcare.gov and contacting the call center as the end of open enrollment nears. The agency is allowing those who are asked to leave a leave a message with the marketplace call center to enroll in a plan after the December 15 deadline.

Some consumers may be asked to leave their contact information, CMS said, and they will be contacted after the deadline.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey said this week that is ramping up enrollment efforts by extending operating hours at its call center, retail, mall and "Blue to you" van locations.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Open enrollment numbers have been off over last year since the period began on November 1. The number of those signing up for Affordable Care Act coverage on Healthcare.gov was down by 11.2 percent as of week 5, ending December 1.

The market has seen stability this year, with insurers entering or expanding their footprint for Obamacare plans. How a declining enrollment affects insurers for next year is unknown.

THE TREND

While the federal mandate for individuals to buy insurance or face tax penalties ends on January 1, New Jersey's individual mandate takes effect on that date.

ON THE RECORD

"With the exception of a brief waiting room on December 10, the website has performed well, consumers have been able to easily access enrollment tools to compare plans and prices, and the call center consumer satisfaction rate has remained at 90 percent. We continue to encourage consumers to make plan selections by that deadline so that their coverage can begin on January 1," CMS said.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

 

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