March Goes Out Like a Lion

It’s safe to say that March went out like a lion in Connecticut, just like it started. And we’re not just talking about the surprise snowstorm that had Monday morning commuters snarled in two hour traffic jams, wondering when winter would ever end. We’re talking about the roaring finish to Connecticut’s highly successful open enrollment period. By midnight on March 31 it was clear that a record 197,878 individuals had signed up for health insurance coverage: more than double the goal the federal government had set for Connecticut’s first year target. How about a roar of applause!

When compared with other states, early on Connecticut had proved itself a leader in meeting Affordable Care Act enrollment targets. And this success was still evident at the start of March. Toward the end of March, enrollment was peaking at the rate of 3,000 to 4,000 sign-ups a day. But on the last day of enrollment, an astounding 5,197 people signed up. The number of people trying to enroll was so great that late Monday evening the Access Health CT (AHCT) website became overwhelmed. CEO Kevin Counihan, who earlier said that enrollment would end at midnight, made a last minute concession, directing consumers who could not finish their applications to call in and leave messages so that an AHCT employee could get back to them over the next few days to complete their enrollment.

Counihan has since assured individuals that AHCT, “will make sure anyone who attempted to enroll but encountered some difficulty will not miss out on being enrolled.” The staff at AHCT, he said, “will work diligently to follow up with everyone who left a voicemail [on Monday] or visited one of the in-person enrollment locations to ensure their application is complete for coverage beginning May 1.”

Although the open enrollment period has officially ended, three groups of people will still be able to sign up for insurance throughout 2014.

  1. Individuals with qualified “life events” such as marriage or divorce, loss of employment or loss of employer coverage will still be able to apply for health insurance that is effective in 2014. Click here and read the FAQ’s under “Enrollment” for a comprehensive list of qualifying events.
  2.  Individuals and families who qualify for Medicaid/HUSKY or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), can continue to enroll.
  3.  Small businesses are able to enroll through the AHCT SHOP exchange at any time during the year.

Everyone else who missed this open enrollment period, will have another chance to sign up beginning Nov. 15, 2014. This is when the second enrollment period begins for coverage that will be effective in 2015. The close of the second enrollment period will be February 2015.



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