Buy tooth paste and pay your Obamacare health insurance premium at the same time? You may shake your head, but there’s some kind of symmetry here.
CVS Caremark thinks it makes a lot of sense. The giant retail pharmacy chain plans to set up a service, sometime this spring, that lets you pay health insurance premiums at any of its 7600 stores, at no additional cost.
Consider this a benefit of the Affordable Care Act and the fact that 8 million people signed up.
Josh Flum, senior vice president of retail pharmacy, said in a written statement, “Millions of Americans have enrolled in health insurance this year for the first time and we want to help with this transition by providing an easy way to pay their premiums in our stores.”
CVS will set up a program it calls Bill Pay specifically for health insurance. And if your insurer participates, you’ll receive a bill with a special barcode. You’ll be able to scan the barcode at a CVS store and make your payment with cash or a credit or debit card.
Right now, CVS accepts insurance payments for MoneyGram’s bill payment service and most CVS stores have MoneyGram kiosks. So the new plan doesn’t seem so radical.
If you haven’t signed up for Obamacare yet, there is a waiting period.
NEXT OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD
The next open enrollment period for Obamacare begins November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015.
If you sign up in November your health insurance can begin as early as January 1, 2015. But you must make your first month’s payment before the health insurance kicks in.
APPLYING OUTSIDE OF THE OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD
You can only apply outside of the open enrollment period under these circumstances:
1. You’re getting married.
2. You’re adopting a child or a child is placed in your home.
3. You’re moving to a new area that offers different health plan choices.
4. You’re losing your healthcare coverage after a divorce, because you’ve lost your job, your COBRA is expiring, or you no longer qualify for Medicaid.