Merkley Introduces Legislation To Clarify Retroactivity Rules For Healthcare

WASHINGTON – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley introduced legislation to ensure that Oregonians who try to sign up for health insurance through Cover Oregon can get coverage for the full month of January and any subsidy they are eligible for even if their information is not processed until later in the month. 

“No Oregonian should go without health coverage through no fault of their own,” said Merkley. “Health care reform is delivering a number of benefits to our families, from financial assistance for middle class families, to eliminating copays on preventive care, to the end of discrimination based on preexisting conditions and gender. However, consumers need to be able to access coverage to get these benefits. Oregonians who have had difficulty accessing insurance through Cover Oregon should still be able to get January coverage so they can avoid a gap in coverage.” 

The bill would allow states to modify the deadline by which consumers need to sign up to qualify for January 1 coverage to any date through January 31, with retroactive coverage and subsidies for those who enroll in the new year.  It would also ensure coverage for any individual who tried to enroll in a state or federal health exchange before December 23 but did not complete the sign-up process or pay their January premium until after that date, so long as they are fully enrolled and paid up by January 31. 

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Udall (D-CO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).