You could have trouble enrolling in the ACA Marketplace if you froze your credit or filed a Fraud Alert.
People who froze their credit after Equifax’s data breach may now have to rely on clearing that credit bureau’s ID-proofing hurdle before they can enroll in the Marketplace. A fraud alert can have the same effect. Since we’re now down to the last days before open enrollment ends, this issue is now a critical one.
Equifax, Transunion, and Experian have a set of questions based on your credit history that they use to verify your identity. Unfortunately, you may sure of who you are, but be unable to prove it. Sometimes the applicant can answer all the questions about past loans (including payment amounts), previous addresses (whether real or entered by error), or vehicles owned. Sometimes people can’t remember; sometimes there are trick questions; sometimes the credit bureau’s information is faulty.
Any error ends up with the message, “Your identity wasn’t verified.” Sometimes a call to Experian, Equifax, or Transunion can resolve the problem. Sometimes you can use the PIN that was given to you when you froze your credit to unfreeze it long enough to enroll in the Marketplace.
If none of these attempts work, you will have to go to Annual Credit Report.com and examine your credit report. Chances are that you will run into the same problems with the questions on that website too. If you do, you will not be able to access your credit report on line and will have to ask for it to be mailed. First, you will need to print out an Annual Credit Report Request Form. This must be filled out using capital letters (as per the examples on the form) and mailed with copies of your proof of identity such as your Social Security card and driver’s license to the address written in small letters at the top of the form. You should receive a copy of your credit report in a few weeks provided all the correct information is enclosed.
Once you have your credit report, you will need to check it for errors. It is possible to correct erroneous credit union information by contacting the credit union or by filing another form on the Annual Credit Report site . However, it isn’t necessarily easy.
I speak from experience. For example, it never occurred to me that Equifax did not recognize that one of the addresses they had listed as mine belonged to the friend of a friend’s father instead. I have no idea how that happened. I also can’t remember what my car payment used to be on the car before this one. (I keep my cars a long time.) Neither do I know which bank held the mortgage on a condo I sold during the housing bubble when mortgages were bundled and resold monthly. It certainly wasn’t the bank I started with.
If this happens to you, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period by calling the healthcare.gov call center and see if you have been cleared for identity proofing (once you have provided the required documents). You should be able to finish your enrollment as long as this process was begun before open enrollment ended.