2.7 Million Households Received Financial Help to Purchase Marketplace Coverage in 2014 According to New Report from Internal Revenue Service: On July 17, a letter to members of Congress from the Internal Revenue Service included preliminary data related to tax filing and health coverage for 2014 — the first year that millions of Americans had the opportunity to purchase marketplace coverage with the help of premium tax credits and when certain consumers had to pay a fine for not having coverage. According to the report’s initial findings, 2.7 million households received tax credits to purchase marketplace coverage, 7.5 million households paid the fine for not having coverage when filing their taxes, and 12 million qualified for exemptions from the fine (such as individuals who were incarcerated or who were members of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance).
New Guidance for Domestic Violence Special Enrollment Period: Starting July 27, the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) will permanently offer a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for survivors of domestic violence and spousal abandonment, and for survivors’ dependents. Once determined eligible for the SEP, individuals have 60 days to sign up for a plan.
Government Accountability Office Released Report on Enrollment Controls in FFM: On July 16, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released on a report on applications for enrollment in the FFM, finding that 11 out of 12 false identities were able to enroll in coverage and be determined eligible for financial help.
- Alaska: On July 16, the governor of Alaska announced he would accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, becoming the 30th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
- Marketplace premiums for the 2016 plan year will increase by an average of 4 percent, less than last year’s average increase of 4.2 percent. According to Covered California, re-enrollees will be able to find plans within their same metal level with premiums averaging 4.5 percent lower.
- Connecticut: On August 1, the state is changing the income requirements for Medicaid for parents and caregivers from a maximum of 201 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) to a maximum of 155 percent FPL. For a family of four, this change means the income threshold will go from about $48,000 per year to $37,000. This new income threshold is still among the most generous in the nation. The state’s marketplace, Access Health Connecticut, is reaching out to around 1,300 consumers who will need to transition from Medicaid to marketplace coverage as a result.
- MinnesotaCare, one of Minnesota’s Medicaid programs, is processing a back-log of 180,000 re-enrollments, with a goal of addressing all cases by August 31.
- Because of problems in the billing system, the state will switch invoice-processing from MNsure to MinnesotaCare for consumers enrolled in MinnesotaCare.
- MNsure has reduced its 2016 enrollment projections from 95,000 consumers to 83,000, based on lower-than-expected growth in enrollment for 2015.
- Pennsylvania: In the first seven months of the commonwealth’s Medicaid expansion, 439,000 Pennsylvanians enrolled.