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Early Renewal of Health Coverage Insurance Tuesday, 29 April 2014

What is an early renewal?

Health plans are usually sold as a 12 month contract between you and your insurance company. In 2013, some insurance companies offered a chance to renew coverage earlier than the 12 month renewal date. for example, some insurance companies offered members a chance to renew in October of 2013, a few months prior to the 12 month renewal of January 1, 2014. This is often called an "early renewal".

Starting in 2014, most new plans offered to individuals and families or through small employers must cover a minimum set of essential health benefits and provide new consumer protections. Some insurance companies currently offering plans that do not provide these minimum benefits changed the renewal date to delay covering these required benefits. Some states did not allow or discouraged early renewals in 2013.

If I renewed my coverage in late 2013, does my plan have to cover new benefits in 2014?

If you renewed coverage before January 1,2014, your plan does not have to provide the new consumer protections until your next renewal in 2014. If your insurance company offered to renew early, there are some important things you should know about your coverage ;

  •  Your current plan probably won't cover the new benefits required in 2014 by many plans or policies until your next renewal in 2014. For example, the requirement to cover certain benefits called essential health benefits (EHBs) does not apply to plans that renew in late 2013. Plans that renew in late 2013 are not required to cover items and services in the following 10 EHB categories :
  1. Ambulatory patient services
  2. Emergency services
  3. Hospitalization
  4. Maternity and newborn care
  5. Mental health and substance use disorder services including behavioral health treatment
  6. Prescription drugs
  7. Rehabilitative and habitability services and devices ( Services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
  8. Laboratory Services
  9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  10. Pediatric services, including dental and vision care 
  • Coverage of these benefits is not required for renewals in 2013 but should be included in your next renewal or purchase of different coverage in 2014.

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