May 23, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recently announced a new Special Enrollment Period for individuals and families that are currently enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage, known as the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.
Idaho and Washington employers who currently have or will have COBRA benefits for former employees and family members will want to notify them that they may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for a limited time only. (click for sample of Employers Notice to COBRA Participants)
This allows them the option to enroll now in an Exchange Marketplace Individual medical plan instead of paying the full cost of their group insurance plan under COBRA. In order to take advantage of this one-time Special Enrollment Period they must enroll in a new Marketplace plan by July 1, 2014. They may qualify for tax credits that can lower their monthly premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs. This will depend on their household size and income.
To do this, please advise your COBRA covered participants to contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). They must explain that they're calling about "COBRA benefits and the Marketplace". After they've been approved for a Special Enrollment Period, they can apply for and enroll in a Marketplace plan.
Contact AMERICAN INSURANCE 208-746-9646 for no-cost assistance to quote and consider all plans available in your area through the Idaho or Washington Health Exchange Marketplaces. We can assist in your enrollment or you may enroll either online or by phone.
If current COBRA participants don't enroll in a new plan by July 1, the rules stated on HealthCare.gov will apply. They won't qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to get a Marketplace plan outside Open Enrollment until their COBRA expires, or unless they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period otherwise.
For more information on COBRA continuation coverage, please click What if I currently have COBRA coverage?