Nearly 1 Million Signed Up for Coverage Through Special Enrollment Periods This Year on HealthCare.gov: On August 13, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an enrollment snapshot for Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) from February 23 through June 30 for the 37 states that use the HelathCare.gov enrollment platform. The snapshot showed that more than 940,000 Americans selected health plans through SEPs this year, with a surge in sign-ups at the end of the tax season SEP, and with the most common qualifying life event being loss of coverage.
National Health Interview Survey Finds Uninsured Rate Below 10 Percent: On August 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the latest results from its National Health Interview Survey, finding that the national uninsured rate dropped by one-third from 2013 to 2015. The uninsured rate fell to 9.2 percent for the first three months of 2015, down from 14.4 percent in 2013. Gains in both public and private coverage are responsible for this decline; the percentage of non-elderly individuals covered by marketplace plans increased significantly in the last year, as did Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollment, especially in states that expanded Medicaid.
Alaska’s Medicaid Expansion Begins Next Week: On September 1, Medicaid expansion will take effect in Alaska, and all Alaskans with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) can enroll in coverage. For eligible Alaskans, coverage takes effect retroactively to the first day of the month they apply.
- Colorado: Connect for Health Colorado has awarded a five-year contract to contractor CGI to bolster the Colorado exchange’s call center, maintain online systems, and create an enrollment portal for brokers.
- District of Columbia: DC Health Link launched a new provider directory tool on August 19. The tool is available in English and Spanish and allows users to see which doctors accept which health plans.
- On August 18, Get Covered Illinois announced it would accept applications for $5 million in outreach and education Navigator grants for OE3. Last year, the marketplace offered $25 million in Navigator grants. This funding is in addition to the federal Navigator grants that will awarded in September.
- The executive director of Get Covered Illinois stepped down on August 7, and the marketplace is currently looking for a replacement.
- Massachusetts: On August 13, the Massachusetts Health Connector awarded nearly $1.6 million in Navigator grants to 14 organizations for outreach and enrollment for the upcoming open enrollment period. Last year, the state awarded $1.5 million in Navigator grants.
- MNsure is partnering with Consumers’ Checkbook to develop a tool consumers can use to compare different plans’ out-of-pocket costs. The marketplace is planning to launch the tool in early November.
- On August 14, MNsure announced a new SEP for Minnesotans who enrolled in COBRA coverage instead of a plan through the marketplace over the last 18 months. The SEP will last through October 15.
- On August 13, the Green Mountain Care Board announced final premiums for the 2016 plan year. Rates for the two insurers selling plans on the state’s marketplace will increase by averages of 5.9 and 2.4 percent.
- To compensate for previous incorrect payments due to technical issues with the enrollment platform, Vermont Health Connect will pay $1.6 million to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont.
- Washington State: Starting September 24, enrollees will pay premiums directly to their insurer instead of to Washington Healthplanfinder as they have for the past two years.