January 26, 2016 – February 1, 2016

Open Enrollment Comes to a Close: January 31 was the last day of the third open enrollment period (OE3) for the health insurance marketplaces. While final enrollment numbers have yet to be released, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 11.6 million Americans, including 8.9 million through HealthCare.gov, had already selected plans by January 23. Because of heightened demand in the final weekend, consumers in states using HealthCare.gov who had contacted the call center before the deadline and left their contact information are considered “in line” and can still enroll when the call center follows up with them.

14.1 Million More Americans Covered by Medicaid/CHIP: From the start of the first open enrollment period in October 2013 to November 2015, an additional 14.1 million Americans enrolled in coverage through Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according a new report released on January 27. Enrollment increased by nearly 34 percent in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with non-expansion states seeing an increase of 10.1 percent.

2016 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines Released: On January 25, the Department of Health and Human Services released updated guidelines for the 2016 federal poverty level (FPL). The ACA marketplaces will continue to use the 2015 FPL to determine how much financial help to give to consumers enrolled for 2016. In the upcoming months, states will start using the 2016 FPL to set eligibility thresholds for Medicaid and CHIP.

IRS Warns Consumers About Tax Scams: Consumers who did not have health coverage in 2015 and do not qualify for an exemption will pay a fine on their taxes, and the Internal Revenue Service is cautioning them to avoid scams by only paying the fine through the tax return — not directly to someone helping file their taxes.

State Updates:

  • Three States Extend Their Enrollment Deadlines: Californians who started their applications or made appointments for application assistance by the January 31 deadline will have through February 6 to enroll. In addition, due to last week’s snowstorm affecting the Mid-Atlantic, the District of Columbia’s new deadline is February 2, and Marylanders have until February 5.
  • Alaska and Oregon: Regulators in both states have taken action to block Moda Health Plan from enrolling new consumers in coverage, due to the issuer’s financial situation. Current enrollees in the plan are not losing their 2016 coverage.
  • Minnesota: A report released January 28 by the Office of the Legislative Auditor found that MNsure paid at least $115 million in benefits to people who were not eligible to receive them. The audit included a response from the state Department of Health and Human Services, which outlined steps they would take to improve systems and argued that the report overestimated the number of incorrect eligibility determinations.
  • Washington State: After an outage on the morning of January 30 due to a technical glitch, the Washington Healthplanfinder came back online at 7:30 p.m. that day.

Enrollment updates:

  • Federally Facilitated MarketplaceMore than 8.9 million Americans had selected marketplace plans on HealthCare.gov as of January 23.
  • Minnesota: More than 85,000 Minnesotans enrolled in marketplace coverage in OE3, 45 percent of whom were new consumers.
  • Rhode Island: As of January 23, more than 33,500 consumers were enrolled in marketplace coverage for 2016.
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