New Policy Allows Consumers to Designate Assisters as Third-Party Representatives for a Full Year: In an announcement on August 20, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) significantly increased the amount of time that a consumer can authorize an assister to interact with the federal call center on his or her behalf, from two weeks to one full year. Consumers can give (or revoke) the authorization over the phone by calling the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) call center. The one-year authorization period only applies to new designations.
September 5 Deadline Approaching for Enrollees to Verify Citizenship or Immigration Status: Enrollees in the FFM who got notices in the mail about data matching issues related to their citizenship or immigration status have until the end of next week (Friday, September 5) to verify their citizenship or immigration status. If they do not take action, they will lose their coverage at the end of September. On our blog, we explain in English and Spanish how to help consumers submit their documentation, and CMS has released a fact sheet with tips for assisters about data matching issues.
Final 2015 Health Insurance Rates Approved in Maryland: Maryland announced its individual market health insurance rates for 2015 on August 22. Average rates dropped among half of insurers (three of the six). The state’s largest insurer, CareFirst, is increasing its rates by between 9.8 percent and 16.2 percent depending on the specific plan. CareFirst’s initial request to increase rates by between 22.8 percent and 30.2 percent were denied by the Maryland Insurance Administration.
Updates on State-Based Marketplaces’ Preparations for the Second Open Enrollment Period (OE2):
- Idaho: As Your Health Idaho transitions from HealthCare.gov to its own enrollment platform for OE2, the state shared details on how it will manage the change for consumers. The marketplace is using information from insurers to create accounts for current enrollees on the new technology platform and contacting those enrollees to verify the information
- Massachusetts: For OE2, the Massachusetts Health Connector’s outreach strategy includes contacting consumers through direct engagement, media and public education, and community partnerships with assister and outreach organizations. The state awarded over $1.5 million in Navigator grants — nearly a 40 percent increase over the amount awarded last year — to 15 organizations for OE2 to reach more areas of the state with in-person assistance.
- Minnesota and Illinois: On August 22, both states announced contracts with advertising firms for OE2. Minnesota will partner with Grassroots Solutions and Clarity Coverdale Fury on its marketing campaign for OE2, and Illinois renewed its contract with FleishmanHillard.