Exchange plans tasked with manual switches

February 13, 2014

Pushback on narrow networks likely the reason behind administration's new tweak

By Julie Miller

Federal officials are allowing enrollees who signed up on healthcare.gov to switch their plans through March 31, according to the Washington Post. Reportedly, a memo was sent to insurers notifying them of the change.

“Health plans are focused on ensuring consumers have the support they need to choose the coverage option that is right for them,” says Clare Krusing, spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

The change is one that plans are generally supportive of because it’s in their best interest to make sure members enroll in the right policy. New members and potential members are overwhelming plans’ call centers with questions surrounding open enrollment, while at the same time narrow networks are under fire from federal officials who suggest that next year's plans will be reviewed for network adequacy.

Undoubtedly allowing consumers to switch plans is a response to complaints from members who signed up for a plan and found out later that their preferred providers are not in-network. Previously, healthcare.gov visitors could withdraw an application and start over, but they weren’t able to disenroll after choosing a plan.

According to AHIP, plans will have to accommodate the switches manually because the new exchange functionality isn't ready yet.

However, a spokesperson for Covered California-a state-operated exchange that has performed relatively well during open enrollment-says its platform has always offered the ability for consumers to switch plans.