CONCORD — The 20,000 Minuteman Health members who must find a new individual health insurance plan for 2018 have a reprieve from the federal government: They qualify for a special enrollment period that would allow them to select a new plan until March 1.
Minuteman Health, a Massachusetts-based health insurance co-op, announced in June that it would stop offering insurance plans in 2018. The company’s current members received a written notice this summer from the company that informed them of their right to choose a new plan for next year through HealthCare.gov during the federal open enrollment period, Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.
The federal government announced that Minuteman members have been granted more time to find a new plan. Minuteman members who have not applied for a new plan through HealthCare.gov by Dec. 15 should indicate on the website that they are selecting a plan through special enrollment. Minuteman members who select a 2018 plan before Dec. 15, the end of open enrollment, do not need to indicate a special enrollment on their application.
Members who select a plan through special enrollment between Dec. 16 and Dec. 31 will be eligible for coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Members who select a plan between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31 will be eligible for coverage beginning Feb. 1.
Members who select a plan between Feb. 1 and Feb. 28 will be eligible for coverage March 1.
Members who select a plan March 1, the last day of the special enrollment period for Minuteman Health policyholders, will be eligible for coverage beginning April 1.
Minuteman Health members recently received a letter from Anthem, notifying them that the federal government, through HealthCare.gov, has assigned them to an Anthem plan for 2018 and asking for a first payment. The New Hampshire Insurance Department on Friday issued a clarification, stating, “This letter could be confusing. All members have the opportunity to choose a new plan for 2018. The assignment to Anthem will only take place if a member does not choose his or her own plan.”
Minuteman Health members should be aware that the auto-assignment to Anthem will only take place if they choose to send a premium payment to Anthem, and that their premium amount may be different from the amount detailed in the letter from Anthem, based on the financial assistance they are eligible to receive in 2018. Members should also be aware that if they opt to select auto-enrollment into an Anthem plan, they are still eligible to change their plan until March 1 through the special enrollment process on HealthCare.gov.