How to Sign up for Health Insurance If Your Loan Is Frozen
In particular, if you have been waiting until now to sign up for health insurance and have frozen your loan after the hack, you may face a serious headache. That’s because to verify the identity of those who register, Healthcare.gov hired Experian, another credit bureau, to ask users questions that only they can probably answer. If your credit is blocked, Experian will not be able to ask you questions to verify your identity. Instead, you may have to upload or mail documents to the Department of Health and Human Services.
A DHS spokeswoman said it would only affect a small number of people and advised consumers not to unfreeze their loans. Here’s what else she said:
Certain consumers are encouraged to verify their identity by telephone or submit documentation online or by mail to our regular mail processing site in London, Kentucky. For this group, the consumer will be provided with a reference code and directed to the Experian Call Center to speak with a representative and answer questions over the phone to verify their identity. Individuals who have frozen their credit report are directed to the Experian Call Center without providing a reference code due to their file being frozen.
Credit blocked consumers will not be able to verify their online identity at HealthCare.gov because Experian will not be able to access their information. Consumers interested in subscribing to Marketplace coverage through HealthCare.gov who have credit blocked can verify their identity by submitting documents to the Marketplace instead of using the online identity verification service. They do not need to unfreeze their credit (we also do not recommend this step for identity verification). When a consumer launches their app on HealthCare.gov and is asked for information to verify their identity, they will be prompted to upload or mail documents to verify their identity.
Consumers can register through the call center if they are concerned about creating and verifying an account identity before the December 15th deadline.
While consumers who applied in past years were able to fill out after the open enrollment period ended, it is unclear if they will be able to do so this year (and a DHS official did not elaborate). Therefore, if you are enrolling for coverage through the individual marketplace, do so by Friday (note: some states have extended the open enrollment period d).
Keep in mind: 11 states have their own exchanges, so this may not be a problem there as it affects the federal market (for example, a spokeswoman for New York confirmed that this is not a problem for New York State health).