No Insurance Available for People Who Missed Obamacare Deadline

Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 09:36 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Most people won't be able to buy any health insurance — even outside the Obamacare exchanges — until the first of next year, locking tens of millions of people out of coverage now that the March 31 signup deadline has passed.

"People are not going to be able to buy individual and family policies, and that's part of Obamacare," John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis told Fox News. "What makes it so surprising is the whole point of Obamacare was to encourage people to get insurance, and now the market has been completely closed down for the next seven months."

John DiVito, the president of Flexbenefit, said that signups are "all closed down. You cannot buy a policy that is a qualified policy for the purpose of the Affordable Care Act until next year on Jan. 1."

On April 1, the day after the Obamacare signup deadline, President Barack Obama, in a Rose Garden address, celebrated a better-than-expected 7.1 million sign-ups for health coverage that he said should end the debate over whether the law should be repealed.

But not everybody is celebrating that number, saying there are far more people who still don't have insurance and won't be able to get it until next year.

"Only about 1 in 4 subsidy-eligible people signed up for health insurance," said Robert Laszewski of Health Policy Associates. "That means about 13 million subsidy-eligible people have not yet signed up."

There are millions more who decided that Obamacare policies were too expensive to buy and decided to pay a tax penalty next year instead, Fox reports.

"In all likelihood, we've only signed up somewhere between 1 in 5 and 1 in 7 people who were uninsured prior to the start of Obamacare," Laszewski said.

Customers can still buy short-term insurance to fill the gap, but it is expensive, and people with pre-existing conditions can be rejected, unlike with Obamacare.

The short enrollment periods for Obamacare were ordered so insurance companies would know how many customers would be in a risk pool and be able to set rates more accurately, Goodman said.

"They fear that the only people who will try to buy are people who are sick, and they are going to be expensive," he said. "So it’s built into the screwy logic of the whole Obamacare system."

There are some circumstance that will allow people to sign up late, including life-qualifying events such as marriage, divorce, a death in the family, a change of income, or a job loss, Goodman told Fox.

"It has to be one of those kinds of events," he said. "And if you don’t have that, you're not going to be able to buy insurance."

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