With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act , and the intention that every American should be enrolled in health insurance, the cancellation policy due to missed payment of the insurance carriers need to be revised.
In the last 2 months especially Anthem in California has cancelled policy holders health insurance coverage for missed premium payments. The policy is that the insurance company can cancel the health insurance if the policy holder has not paid the health insurance premium in the last 30 days. This concept makes sense if the policy holder can enroll with another insurance carrier. But in the special enrollment period which is from April 15th- to November 15th 2014 a person who received a cancellation due to non-payment does not qualify for a special event and therefore is unable to obtain health insurance coverage.
This insurance cancellation policy is creating a hardship for California families, and is in complete opposite to the desire ” that every American should be enrolled in health insurance”. Instead of cancellation of health insurance due to missed premium payment, a policy like implementing a late-payment-fee needs to be implemented. This will enable Americans to keep their health insurance, but also help insurance carriers to force their policyholders to pay on time.
I have had several clients of mine, who never received cancellation notices and called 1 -2 days late after the 30 day window and Anthem refused to have the health insurance policy re-installed. Anthem allowed them to file a grievance report , but it takes up to 30 days to get an answer. What is a family to do in the meantime? All these families would have been willing to pay a late payment fee, instead of having their family running without health insurance. Especially reviewing how many hours policyholders have spent on the phone to pay their health insurance and how many billing mistakes the insurance carrier have had in the last 6 month, insurance carrier should be more lenient and allow policy holders to pay their missed premium instead of cancelling their insurance. A late premium fee would be a good instrument to discipline policy holders to pay on time.
Due to the still not updated accounting systems of most of the insurance carriers, agents have not a good tool to remind their customers that they are late with their payment.
Until the cancelation policies are changed it is the responsibility of the policyholder to pay on time or risk to loose their health insurance, which cannot be replaced during the Special Enrollment Period. Only Short Term Health Insurance carrier can bridge you to the Open Enrollment Period which starts November 15, 2014 for health insurance coverage in January 2015. My hope is still that Covered CA is making an exception and allows these families to enroll in health insurance coverage.