November 24 – November 30, 2015

More Than 1.6 Million Sign-Ups in First Three Weeks on HealthCare.gov: In the first three weeks of the third open enrollment period, more than 1.6 million people picked marketplace plans through the HealthCare.gov enrollment platform, including 567,000 plan selections during the week of November 15 – 21. In each of the three weeks, around two-thirds of the plan selections were from consumers returning to the marketplace to consider and choose from the new plans and new prices available for 2016.

13.3 Million More Americans Covered by Medicaid/CHIP Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA): On November 30, a new monthly report from the Department of Health and Human Services found that enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) increased by 13.3 million Americans since October 2013. As of September 2015, enrollment increased by 30 percent in states that had expanded Medicaid, and non-expansion states saw an increase of 10 percent.

States Considering ACA Innovation Waivers: California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts are exploring ways they could tailor health reform to their state by applying for state innovation waivers under the ACA. The waivers give states flexibility to modify portions of implementation requirements and take alternate paths to meet the law’s same health coverage goals and standards. In November, Massachusetts’ and California’s marketplaces presented on processes and frameworks for moving forward on the waivers to their boards of directors, and Hawaii released a draft proposal in September.

33.5 Million Americans Could Get Covered Through a Special Enrollment Period Each Year: According to a new study from the Urban Institute, 33.5 million Americans each year could avoid coverage gaps by signing up for marketplace health coverage through a Special Enrollment period (SEP). The most common qualifying life event the study found was losing job-based coverage, which accounted for nearly 29 million of the people who could qualify for an SEP. The report estimated that less than 15 percent of eligible consumers enroll through an SEP, and included recommendations to reach people who could get covered.

State-Based Marketplace Updates:

  • Minnesota: As of November 17, 72 percent of the Minnesotans who enrolled in 2016 marketplace coverage through MNsure qualified for advanced premium tax credits to lower their monthly cost.
  • Vermont: Vermont Health Connect is working to identify and re-enroll consumers who had their coverage incorrectly terminated in October because of a systems issue.
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