Wyoming Senators Push for Earlier Obamacare Premium Disclosure

Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi joined Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander today to introduce legislation that would reverse the Obama administration’s recent decision to delay next year’s Obamacare insurance enrollment deadline until after the 2014 election. “The Premium Disclosure Act” would also require the administration to provide premium increase and cost-sharing information to Americans prior to open enrollment so they have time to make decisions about their health care.

“Earlier rounds of health care mandates were not popular, so the Administration has sought to delay as many of them as possible until after the next election,” said Enzi in a release. “Our legislation would not only prevent this political move, but would make sure families have premium and cost-sharing information in time to make more informed decisions for themselves.”

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges for 2015 would begin Oct. 15 of next year. But after two months of negative public reaction to the exchange’s high premiums, deductibles and co-insurance, agency officials delayed enrollment and disclosure of next year’s insurance cost increases until after the 2014 elections.

This legislation will also make it easier for families to plan for expenses in 2015 by requiring HHS to disclose health insurance plan and cost information 30 days in advance of open enrollment. For the current open enrollment season, agency officials were not required to disclose any information and did not do so until the exchanges opened on Oct. 1.

The two-page bill sets the open enrollment dates of the exchanges from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 in statute, rather than after the November 2014 mid-term elections as the Obama administration currently has planned. It also requires the administration to provide American families with notice of any premium increases and cost-sharing requirements 30 days before open enrollment.