The Obama administration is cracking down on when people can enroll in Obamacare, hinting that it won't allow as many special enrollment periods in the future.
A key Obamacare official said Monday that consumers wouldn't get much leeway with signing up for Obamacare after this latest open enrollment that ends on Jan. 31.
"This week we will announce eliminating certain other select [special enrollment periods] and make clearer to prevent bad actors from signing people up appropriately," said Andy Slavitt, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Slavitt spoke Monday at J.P. Morgan's Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.
Slavitt didn't detail exactly which types of special enrollment periods will be eliminated. He said the decision is part of a larger effort to ensure Obamacare becomes more stable.
"We are taking steps to move from a startup period to a more normal set of operating periods," said Slavitt.
He added that the details on which special enrollment periods will be announce later this week. Open enrollment occurs every year to let consumers sign up for coverage or have existing enrollees pick a new plan or automatically reenroll. Obamacare's third of open enrollment started on Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31.
Normally someone wouldn't be able to enroll after the open enrollment period. This is to ensure that people don't sign up for insurance when they get sick and then drop their coverage after they become well again.
You can enroll in an Obamacare plan outside of open enrollment, but only if you have a qualifying life event such as marriage or having a baby, or the loss of health coverage in an employer-sponsored plan. Slavitt said the agency intends to clarify the steps surrounding a special enrollment period.
Obamacare had a special enrollment period last year for people who were eligible to pay the individual mandate penalty for not having insurance coverage. The goal was to ensure that affected consumers could sign up to avoid the higher penalty for not having coverage in 2015.
The administration already announced that it wouldn't have a special enrollment period this year for people facing the penalty.