WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Communicating for America (CA) Chairman Jeff Smedsrud is calling on President Obama to extend the open enrollment period for 2014 coverage, which is set to end on March 31, 2014. Individuals not enrolled in coverage by then generally can't enroll until the next open enrollment period, which begins November 15, 2014. "The open enrollment period should be extended until May 15, 2014," Smedsrud said. "Individuals who do not find suitable coverage by then should be encouraged to enroll in a short-term medical plan. Although there are some coverage limitations with short-term medical plans, they are available from a variety of companies in every state for at least a six-month duration."
Smedsrud added that the Administration has given businesses more time — by delaying certain mandates, and gave insurers more time — by letting companies arbitrarily change certain policy cancellations, under certain circumstances, at their discretion. "Now it's time to give consumers more time. The goal of reform is to increase the number of Americans with health insurance. Early indicators are that this goal will not be met unless consumers have more time and better choices.
"It's not the fault of consumers that state and federal exchanges had technical problems upon the rollout, nor are they to blame for ongoing problems with billing, collection and verification, making it difficult to know if, in fact, they have coverage. And it is not the consumer's fault that millions of health policies were cancelled. Blame can be affixed multiple places, but don't make individuals suffer for mistakes made by institutions."
Smedsrud called on the Administration to take three specific actions:
- Extend the open enrollment period until May 15.
- Delay the start date for the Individual Mandate penalty until May 15.
- Allow short-term medical plans purchased in 2014 to meet the definition of Credible Coverage, thus allowing those enrolled in such plans to switch at any time during 2014 to a more comprehensive plan under Special Enrollment rules.
CA -- http://communicatingforamerica.org -- is a national consumer advocacy group representing more than 100,000 self-employed individuals. Smedsrud is also chief executive officer of -- http://www.healthcare.com -- a leading search and compare site visited by nearly one million consumers a month.
SOURCE Communicating for America