The holiday season is a great time for getting gifts, but an awful time to enroll people in Obamacare, a new analysis finds.
However, enrollment could be boosted if Obamacare's sign-up period was moved forward to months leading up to the tax-filing deadline in mid-April, when people are feeling more flush from refunds and the expectations of them, argued the authors of the article in the journal Health Affairs.
Their report notes that Obamacare's next open enrollment period begins at a time—mid-November—when lower-income people in particular are financially and mentally "stressed by demands of the holiday season," and when they are dramatically less likely to be searching for information about health insurance on the Internet.
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Those factors, in turn, could dampen overall enrollment in Affordable Care Act exchange-sold plans for such coverage during the Nov. 15, 2014, to Feb. 15, 2015, enrollment window, argued the authors. They also could negatively affect people's ability to select the right health plan, a complicated task for anyone, the paper said.
But the government says nothing is going to change. "Our enrollment period is set," said Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers Obamacare.
The Health Affairs authors focused on the effects on lower-income people in their paper because that group tends to make up the bulk of Obamacare enrollees.