What We’re Doing to Help Americans Get Coverage

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health & Human Services
Posted December 12, 2013

For millions of Americans, the security of health coverage is finally within reach -- and it’s only a click, call or conversation away. 

Since October, 1.2 million Americans have selected a plan in the Marketplace or received a Medicaid or CHIP eligibility determination.  Nearly 1.9 million people completed the application process and received a determination, and are still in the process of selecting a plan.

I invite Americans who do not have employer-based insurance to learn about their new options on the Health Insurance Marketplace – now’s the time to visit HealthCare.gov.

I also want to share a few of the actions we’re taking to help folks transition to affordable, Marketplace coverage.

First, a reminder: there are 3½ months remaining in open enrollment – ample time for  you to research your options, talk things over with your family, and select a plan. 

Second, if you want your coverage to begin right on January 1st, we’re issuing an interim final rule today that will give you 8 more days to shop for coverage and enroll.  You now have until December 23rd to sign up for coverage that begins on the 1st.  And we’re recommending that insurance companies allow people to sign up beyond December 23rd for coverage that also starts on January 1st. 

Each insurance company also has their own deadline for when that first premium payment is due.  To protect consumers, we’re requiring issuers to accept payments until at least December 31st for coverage that starts on January 1. 

We recommend that folks call their insurance companies to make sure their payment was received and that they are enrolled.

We’re also encouraging issuers to allow consumers who have paid portions of their premiums, like making a down payment, to be able to start their coverage on time.

If you’re in a Preexisting Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), you’ll want to read this:

Starting January 1st it will be against the law to deny anyone coverage because they have a pre-existing medical condition. 

Many Americans with these conditions currently participate in a PCIP.

To ensure that these folks do not experience a coverage gap, we’re announcing that their PCIP benefits will continue to be available for an additional month to help ease their transition into Marketplace plans.  

Finally, we’re also making some further recommendations to issuers on behalf of consumers, such as encouraging them to update their provider directories frequently and allowing their customers to continue filling prescriptions that were covered under their previous plans through the end of January.

Visit HealthCare.gov to learn more today.

To learn more about today’s announcements, click here to read a comprehensive fact sheet.