Administration tightens ObamaCare sign-up rules

The Obama administration on Friday announced changes to ObamaCare sign-up rules that are intended to cut down on people gaming the system and address a complaint from insurance companies that they say is causing them to lose money. 

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is tightening the rules for enrolling in one of ObamaCare’s extra sign-up periods.

The extra periods allow people to sign up for insurance outside of the regular enrollment period if they move. The change announced Friday requires that people have coverage at some point in the preceding 60 days, which is intended to prevent people from moving for the sole purpose of becoming eligible to sign up for health insurance. 

Insurers have complained that current rules are too lax, allowing people to game the system and only sign up for insurance when they need care, driving up costs for insurers and contributing to losses on the ObamaCare marketplaces. 

“CMS is committed to help strengthen the Health Insurance Marketplace,” spokesman Aaron Albright said in announcing the changes. 

The agency on Friday also clarified the six valid reasons for using an extra sign-up period. Further, in February, the administration announced that it would start requiring enrollees to submit documentation to prove that they qualify for enrolling in an extra period. 

Some insurers still say that the rules have not been tightened enough. 

Secondly, the administration on Friday also announced steps aimed at allowing ObamaCare’s nonprofit health insurers, known as co-ops, to attract outside investors more easily. 

Republicans have seized on the closure of 12 of the 23 co-ops due to financial problems, and the administration has been looking for ways to help improve the finances of the ones that remain.