Health insurance signup period cut in half

RENO, Nev (KOLO) Open enrollment for health insurance begins November 1, 2017, and it goes until December 15. If that sounds shorter than usual, it is. Instead of 90 days, consumers only have 45 days to enroll for insurance. There are changes for 2018 for carriers and prices, and no extension periods.

You may have seen the ads on TV alerting you to the importance of health insurance. All of them have a lighthearted touch and the message certainly directs you to the health insurance exchange's information site.

But at least one health insurance agent is worried about some hard core facts this ad and others don't address.

“We are looking at a six-week time period in order to enroll,” says Alex Sampson from Health Benefits Associates Inc.

The Trump Administration cut the enrollment time for consumers in half, and there is no anticipated extension in the works.

While that means consumers need to be on their game and get to their agents, or enroll themselves on healthcare.gov, Nevada's Silver State Health Insurance Exchange executive director is wondering if the government enrollment website can handle the onslaught of information in half the time.

“November 1st to December 15th, that is a truncated enrollment period that has its own set of challenges,” says Heather Korbulic.

“I had a problem with the portal when the enrollment period was extended,” says Sampson.

Another administration change: federal funds to help alert consumers to open enrollment have been cut by 90% this year. But Korbulic says Nevada won't be impacted by those cuts.

”We have our own dollars dedicated to advertising and marketing. These are not state general funds; these are not federal funds; these are funds or revenue that the exchange collects from carriers here,” says Korbulic.

Be assured, she says; marketing this year will underscore the shortened time frame to sign up for health insurance. That $3.2 million campaign will get underway soon.

In the past if you liked your health insurance on the exchange and you did nothing you would be just re-enrolled in the plan you have now. While that is still the case, keep in mind there are only two remaining carriers in Washoe County.

If your particular insurance on the exchange is not available, you will be re-enrolled in a similar plan. However, it will be more expensive, as all plans are, and you might not get your same providers. You’ll also need to contact your bank if you have automatic deposit.