You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period
Q. My aunt tried to get health insurance through Obamacare and was told by a broker she wasn’t eligible because she didn’t have a credit record. She has always lived frugally and never took on any debt. Why would the health reform law deny coverage to people just because they don’t have a credit score?
A. Your aunt was done a huge disservice by the broker. She was fully eligible to buy insurance through her state’s exchange and should never have been told otherwise.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that even though open enrollment is over, people like her, who tried to enroll but were stopped by wrong information, computer problems, or other things beyond their control, are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period so they can get insurance right away instead of waiting until next year.
Your aunt fell afoul of a complicated process called “identity proofing,” meant to verify the applicant’s identity. When a person started an application, the health insurance marketplace would send an electronic query to Experian, one of the three big national credit reporting agencies. Experian’s computers would look up the person’s credit history and generate a series of questions that a real applicant would know the answer to but an impostor wouldn’t. It might ask the person to identify which of four addresses he or she used to live at, or the make of a car purchased with a loan.
But people like your aunt don’t have an Experian credit history to look up, said Sonal Ambegaokar, a senior attorney with the National Health Law Program, a nonprofit advocacy group, including “people coming out of foster care, recent immigrants, low-income people, older people who’ve never used credit, and recent graduates who don’t have a credit history yet.” Read the full article here. »