A proposal to shift the Affordable Care Act's annual enrollment period could both help and hurt consumers.
The current enrollment period ends Feb. 15, but insurance companies already are scrambling to prepare 2016 plans and rates because the federal government wants future enrollment periods to run from Oct. 1-Dec. 15. That would help uninsured consumers avoid tax penalties, because those who sign up by Dec. 15 would have coverage for the entire next year.
But the proposal is also creating short-term problems for insurance companies, who now face short deadlines to submit their plans and rates, and for state regulators who review them.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, New Hampshire's insurance commissioner and several of the state's insurance companies have expressed concerns about the proposed deadlines.