Direct Enrollment Could Become 'Plan B' for HealthCare.gov

To ease insurance sign-ups that have been slowed by federal website problems, CMS officials have announced that individuals and families now can enroll for exchange health plans directly through insurers and still qualify for a federal premium subsidy.

To ease insurance sign-ups that have been slowed by federal website problems, CMS officials have announced that individuals and families now can enroll for exchange health plans directly through insurers and still qualify for a federal premium subsidy.

Previously, HHS directed everyone seeking exchange plan coverage and a federal premium subsidy—available to individuals and families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level—to enroll through a state- or federally operated marketplace.

In actuality, HHS finalized rules on direct enrollment by insurers in August. As Tim Jost, a Washington and Lee University law professor and healthcare reform expert describes the process in a Health Affairs blog, the applicant must start at the insurer's website and provide basic information, then transfer to the exchange website where eligibility for premium tax credits is determined. Then the applicant returns to the insurer's website for plan selection.

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Source: Modern Healthcare