After a quieter open enrollment period, HHS officials give a final call for current customers to make changes to existing plans.
Consumers who seek new health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or changes to existing policies must take action by today for those selections to be in effect by January 1, 2015.
Open enrollment for new coverage will continue through February 15, 2015. Depending on where they live, consumers can enroll for coverage either through a state-run exchange or through the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov.
However, existing customers will lose the ability to make changes to their coverage for 2015 after today. Speaking over the weekend to a group in Arizona, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Sylvia Mathews Burwell said it was important for current ACA consumers to review their existing health plan and make changes as necessary.
Those who don't enroll by 11:59 p.m. tonight will automatically be assigned to a replacement plan for policies that will be canceled by the end of the year.
"We want to encourage everyone to come back to the marketplace and re-enroll," said Burwell, speaking at an enrollment event Saturday morning at South Mountain Community College.
Open enrollment this fall has been a quieter event than in 2013, when the launch of HealthCare.gov was plagued by massive technical problems that had not been anticipated, which for a time appeared to threaten the viability of the entire first-year enrollment.
While the functionality of the site that serves 37 states has been markedly improved this year, HHS has received some criticism for not providing the same level of detail about site use and enrollment as some individual states. HHS says that during the first 3 weeks since open enrollment began November 15, 1.3 million residents signed up for coverage and 2.5 million have completed application.
Also, HHS recently revealed that it over counted the first-year enrollees by accidentally including about 380,000 people who bought standalone dental coverage. This error pushed the number of enrollees past the 7 million mark, which was politically important since that matched the early estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
Earlier projections stated that by the end of the process in 2015, 9.9 million Americans will have coverage through the marketplace.
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