PROVIDENCE – Following the lead of the federal Affordable Care Act exchange, HealthSource RI announced Tuesday it has extended the deadline for individual and small-employer plan selection and payment.
Individuals who select a plan by Dec. 31 and pay by Jan. 6 will be considered covered on Jan. 1, 2014.
Small employers now have until Dec. 27 to select a plan for their employees. Payment must be made by Jan. 6 for coverage beginning on Jan. 1. Employers that choose to grant a contribution to allow employees to shop for their own HealthSource RI coverage must register with HealthSource RI by Dec. 27 and may then set a plan-selection deadline of their choosing for their employees, provided the plan selections are made no later than Dec. 31.
In a Tuesday release announcing the deadline extensions, HealthSource RI said the decision was made after U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius pushed back the federal enrollment deadline last Thursday.
Previously, the federal deadline to select and pay for coverage beginning Jan. 1 was Dec. 23, but Sebelius extended the deadline to Dec. 31. She also urged insurers to accept payment into the first week of January.
The state-run exchanges of Rhode Island, Maryland and Connecticut have extended their enrollment deadlines since the Department of Health and Human Services announcement. Massachusetts, however, has not extended its Dec. 23 deadline for Jan. 1 coverage.
In Rhode Island, coverage will take effect Jan. 1 as long as payment is made by Jan. 6, 2014. Enrollees will not receive a health insurance ID card or welcome packet from insurance carriers until payment is made, according to a statement from HealthSource RI.
Rhode Island health insurance carriers and HealthSource RI worked together to come up with the new deadline, according HealthSource RI spokeswoman Dara Chadwick.
Open enrollment on the individual market (including plans for individuals and families) will end March 31, 2014. After Jan. 1, individuals seeking to enroll in HealthSource RI must sign up by the 23rd of each month for coverage beginning on the first of the following month, Chadwick said. (A person looking for coverage effect Feb. 1 must sign up no later than Jan. 23, for example.)
After open enrollment ends on March 31, individuals without health insurance may be fined under the individual mandate penalty.