December 15 – December 21, 2015

High Demand Leads to Extension for Many Consumers to Enroll for January 1 Coverage: After a surge in traffic to HealthCare.gov leading up to the original December 15 deadline to enroll in coverage that would start January 1, the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) deadline was extended for two more days. Nine state-based marketplaces also had deadlines after December 15, and in four states — Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Washington State — consumers can still enroll in marketplace coverage effective January 1.

More Than Eight Million Enroll or Renew via HealthCare.gov: As of December 19, more than 8.2 million consumers enrolled or renewed in health coverage through HealthCare.gov for 2016. Out of the 8.25 million, 2.4 million were new consumers, and 3.6 million were active re-enrollers. This year’s 8.2 million outpaces the 6.4 million enrolled through HealthCare.gov at this time last year.

Budget Agreement Touches Funding for Some ACA Programs: On December 18, President Obama signed into law a $1.1 trillion budget agreement, which contains funding adjustments but no fundamental changes to the Affordable Care Act. The bill limits the amount of payments the Department of Health and Human Services could make in the risk corridor program (a temporary initiative to provide marketplace issuers financial protection against unexpected claims costs during the initial years of the marketplaces), places a moratorium on issuer fees to the federal government for 2017, and delays implementation of the medical device tax and the tax on high-cost employer-sponsored coverage.

State Updates:

  • Connecticut: Access Health CT will make sure that the roughly 2,000 consumers who couldn’t complete their enrollments before the deadline because of website issues will have their coverage start on January 1.
  • Minnesota:
    • Returning federal funds: MNsure is coordinating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to return around $500,000 in unspent establishment grant funding.
    • Resolving online enrollment issues: MNsure is working to address two glitches that had interrupted the online application process.
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