Consumers signing up for health insurance on the federal health exchange could have a more difficult time this year thanks to the Equifax data breach, according to a report from Kaiser Health News.
Specifically, if you’ve waited until now to sign up for health insurance and froze your credit after the hack, you could face some major headaches. That’s because in order to verify the identities of those who sign up, Healthcare.gov has enlisted Experian, another of the credit bureaus, to ask users questions that only they would likely be able to answer. If your credit is frozen, this makes it impossible for Experian to ask you questions to prove your identify. Instead, you’ll likely have to upload or mail in documents to the Department of Health and Human Services.
A spokeswoman for DHS said this only affects a small number of people, and advised consumers not to unfreeze their credit. Here’s what else she said:
Some consumers are directed to do identity proofing over the phone or are required to submit documentation, online or mailed to our usual mail processing site in London, KY. For this group, the consumer will be given a reference code and directed to the Experian call center to speak with a representative and answer questions over the phone to verify their identity. Individuals who have placed a freeze on their credit report are directed to the Experian call center without a reference code provided due to the fact that their file is frozen.
Consumers who have placed a freeze on their credit won’t be able to pass online identity proofing on HealthCare.gov, since Experian won’t be able to access their information. Consumers interested in enrolling in Marketplace coverage through the HealthCare.gov website that have a freeze on their credit record are able to identity proof by providing documents to the Marketplace, instead of using the online identity proofing service. They don’t need to unfreeze their credit (nor do we recommend that step for identity proofing). When a consumer starts their application on HealthCare.gov and they’re asked for their information to identity proof, they’ll be directed to upload or mail in documents to verify their identity.
Consumers can enroll through the call center if they are concerned about creating and identity proofing an account before the December 15 deadline.
While in past years consumers who started their application were able to complete them after the open enrollment period ended, it is not clear that they would be able to do that this year (and the DHS spokeswoman did not clarify). So if you are enrolling in coverage via the individual market, get it done by Friday (note: some states have extended the open enrollment period).
The open enrollment period on healthcare.gov ends December 15, and the current administration is… Read more Read Keep in mind: 11 states run their own exchanges, so it may not be an issue there as it affects the federal marketplace (for example, a New York spokeswoman confirmed this is not an issue for New York State of Health).
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The open enrollment period on healthcare.gov ends December 15, and the current administration is…
Read more Read
Keep in mind: 11 states run their own exchanges, so it may not be an issue there as it affects the federal marketplace (for example, a New York spokeswoman confirmed this is not an issue for New York State of Health).