Consumers can use allegations of broker or insurance companyerrors or misconduct to get more time to apply for individualhealth coverage.

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Officials at the Center for Consumer Information and InsuranceOversight, mention broker and insurance company problems in a newguide to the “special enrollment period” requestprocess.

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PPACA gives consumers an automatic right to a special enrollmentperiod from April 1 through Nov. 15, the start of the 2015 openenrollment period, if they have gone through a major life change,such as the loss of a job, or if they qualify for an exemption fromthe deadline due to “limited circumstances.”

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The list of limited circumstances includes “exceptionalcircumstances,” such as earthquakes, hurricanes, medicalemergencies, or exchange system outages; exchange enrollment systemerrors, such as immigration status system errors, and unresolvedefforts to get an exchange caseworker to handle an enrollmentproblem.

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Officials refer to agents, brokers and insurance companies in asection on applying for special enrollment periods due to“misinformation, misrepresentation or inaction.”

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Officials refer to navigators, certified application counselorsand exchange call center representatives in the same section.

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A consumer could ask for a special enrollment period if one ofthose individuals or entities failed to enroll the consumer in aplan, enrolled a consumer in the wrong plan, or failed to get theconsumer access to the right coverage subsidies, officialssay.

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HHS officials announced yesterday that they will give HHSexchange users who say they started the plan enrollment process byMarch 31 until mid-April to ask for a special enrollment periodwithout providing documentation of the reasons for therequest. CCIIO officials describe how HHS will handle theMarch 31 deadline here.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, ThinkAdvisor's insurance editor, previously was LifeHealthPro's health insurance editor. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Think_Allison.