Team Obama “Tweeks” Individual Mandate Due To Website “Glitches”
This isn’t quite a case of a delay, as Republicans fought for as Plan B during Shutdown Theater
(Washington Post) The Obama administration confirmed to The Washington Post a little bit ago that it is indeed tweaking the way the individual mandate works as to not penalize anyone who purchases coverage during this first open enrollment period.
It’s not quite right to describe this as a delay of the individual mandate, or an extension of open enrollment. There will still be a requirement to carry insurance coverage in 2014, and open enrollment still ends on March 31, 2014 — two facts that are true now and were true yesterday.
Before getting to what the change is, two pieces of information are helpful to keep in mind. First is the open enrollment period: The health care law’s open enrollment period runs from Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. During those six months, shoppers can purchase coverage through HealthCare.gov. On April 1 though, they’re out of luck — and have to wait until 2015 to purchase a health insurance plan.
Wait, wait, let’s stop there for a moment: what if someone wants to actually purchase health insurance in a different month? Are we being told they can’t? What if someone turns 26 in, say, June, and get kicked off their parent’s health insurance? Do they have to wait till January 1st, 2015? Which means they’ll be fined because they cannot get insurance through the Exchange.
(National Review) According to the Post, what the White House did, essentially, was to exempt from the individual mandate penalty anyone who enrolls in an acceptable plan by March 31 and maintains coverage for the rest of the year. The White House is claiming that the “timing hasn’t changed” and the “deadline for having insurance is March 31,” but this wasn’t the practical implication of the IRS’s final interpretation of the law.
This essentially extends the timing by 6 weeks. In contradiction to what The Law itself states. Oh, and it only applies to those who obtain insurance through the Exchange. So, if you get it elsewhere, you’ll be treated differently. Isn’t there something about equal protection under the law?