The Obama administration released standards for plans for 2015 on Wednesday and one of the tweaks might end up helping scores of families to sign up for health insurance. What's not clear is whether the changes will apply to California.
Originally, open enrollment for 2015 was set to run this fall, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Then the administration moved it from Nov. 15 to Jan. 15 in a move that was widely regarded as politically motivated -- to help shift the bulk of open enrollment (and its likely problems) to conclude after the mid-term elections had wrapped up.
In its announcement Wednesday, the administration changed open enrollment again. It will now run Nov. 15 to Feb.15, at least for those in states using healthcare.gov. More on Covered California in a moment.
Starting with healthcare.gov: This change is good news for the millions of people who might be thinking of something besides health insurance during November and December -- namely holiday shopping.
One company strongly pushing for the change in open enrollment is not a health organization. Jackson Hewitt is a national tax preparation service. Brian Haile, its senior vice president for health policy, says the company has been advocating for extending open enrollment up to the April 15 tax deadline. He says it's not only to avoid the distraction of Christmas shopping, but also to align the sign-up period with the time when many consumers receive tax refunds. It's easier for people to make big purchases -- like health insurance -- whey they "have money in their pocket," he noted.