Thursday, September 29, 2016

Frustrating Circumstances

I originally thought this would be another in our series of either Stupid Government or Frustrating Carrier Tricks. But it's really about how "life happens."

So we know that HHS has been cracking down on off-season ("Special Open") enrollments, leading carriers to be particularly stringent on what documentation they'll accept, and adhering tightly to the 60-day open window.

But sometimes, even having all the documentation one thinks is necessary just isn't enough, and it's not the fault of the proposed insured, the carrier, or the government.

Here's the story:

Bill was covered under his wife's health insurance policy until their divorce this summer. The divorce was actually finalized on July 13th, but Bill's ex told him that her boss had promised to keep him on the plan through the end of the month (that would be July 31st, for those following along at home). Divorce is one of the Special Open Enrollment triggers, as is involuntary loss of group coverage. Typically, the clock starts ticking the day the divorce is finalized, or when the coverage ended.

Because we believed that Bill was covered until July 31, we presumed that the clock started then, and we had 60 days to obtain new coverage. Bill didn't contact me until early this month, so we knew that clock was ticking, but believed we'd be clear for an October 1 effective date.

We submitted the application and supporting documents (well, those we knew about), one of which was the Proof of Coverage from the group plan. It said that coverage ended July 1, but since we'd been assured by Bill's ex that this wasn't the case, we pushed forward.

As the 60 day window continued to close, I asked Bill for more documentation to prove that we'd gotten in under the wire.

This is what I got in  email this morning:

"It was not supposed to end until Augus! I found out yesterday that it was cancelled July 1, and my ex's was cancelled August 1. She has left that position and is suing the guy she was working for. I have not been able to reach this former employer. Calls not being returned. I really don't know what to do at this point."

So basically, the carrier was correct that we'd missed the deadline, and will be refunding Bill's initial payment shortly. On the bright side, I was able to come up with a pretty nifty solution to Bill's coverage and ACA problem (but that's another post).

The moral of this little [ed: "little
"] story is that sometimes one can dot all the right i's and cross all the right t's, and still come up short.
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