Originally the open enrollment period for 2015 was supposed to start Oct 15th of 2014 and end December 7th. The Obama administration today announced they pushed back the start to November 15th and end January 15th (2016). This move just happens to put the date past the mid-term elections. This means many people will not be looking at their new 2015 premiums until after they vote.
This seems like a smart but cynical political move. The current premiums are only an educated guess by the insurance companies, but next year they will have real data and real enrollment figures to work with. There has always been a good chance they will need to make a large one-time adjustment, either up or down, for 2015 based on what actually happens this year. Right now it looks like the change will be an increase.
The Obama administration’s scramble to deal with people “keeping their insurance” took insurance companies by surprise. Because Obama’s executive action makes it easier for some people to stay on their old plans, it is likely number of healthier people will stay out of the exchange risk pool for an extra year. Insurance companies didn’t expect this so didn’t factor it into their current premiums. This increases the chance of them needing to make a noticeable bump in premiums next year to compensate.
By moving the open enrollment period few people should notice this possible increase before the mid-term election.
Photo by Boo Lee, used under Creative Commons license