One Week Left: Consumers Must Enroll By December 15 for January 1 Coverage: Monday, December 15 is the last day for consumers on the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) to enroll and for current enrollees to switch plans if they want coverage starting January 1. Consumers can apply online, by phone (1-800-318-2596), by paper application, or with in-person assistance. Some state-based marketplaces (SBMs) have later deadlines for January 1 coverage, including Maryland on December 18 and Massachusetts and Washington State on December 23. If individuals miss the deadline for January 1 coverage, they will have the opportunity to get covered through the end of open enrollment (February 15, 2015).
Consumer Experiences in the Field: In the first three weeks of this second open enrollment period (OE2), the overwhelming majority of the reports we have received from our grassroots organizing staff working in 11 states, and partner organizations working in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, have been positive. HealthCare.gov and SBMs that struggled with their technology last year now work well for most consumers and assisters using them. Still, there is always room for improvement. Some current enrollees have had difficulty logging into and re-initiating their accounts from last year, and there have been identification verification issues, particularly among immigrants and consumers without a credit history. For more on consumer issues, see our recent blog post on the topic.
Renewal Tips from HHS: The Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) shared some tips for current enrollees renewing through HealthCare.gov:
- Finding Plan ID to Renew for 2015: HealthCare.gov released a fact sheet outlining how consumers can find their 2015 plan ID within their plan materials, through the FFM call center, or on HealthCare.gov. Current enrollees who are comparing their options for 2015 will need to have their 2015 plan ID on hand, and the ID might be different from 2014. A ProPublica tool is available for current enrollees to check on changes to their plan for 2015 and see the new options that could be available.
- Selecting the Correct “End of Coverage” Date: Current enrollees who are enrolling in a new plan for 2015 need to select “December 31, 2014” as the last effective date for their 2014 coverage, according to HHS guidance to assisters. If a consumer selects “January 1, 2014,” as the last effective date, they may be auto-renewed into their 2014 plan.
New Report on Consumer Choices for 2015 Marketplace Plans: On December 4, HHS released a report on coverage options and costs for consumers enrolling through HealthCare.gov. The report found that for the 2015 plan year the vast majority of current FFM enrollees — more than 7 in 10 — will be able to select a plan with a lower premium and within the same metal level if they choose, and that eight in 10 enrollees can purchase a plan with a premium of $100 or less with financial assistance in 2015.
Updates From SBMs:
- Minnesota: On December 3, the MNsure board of directors approved a budget for fiscal year 2015 and presented a three-year financial plan.
- Washington: On December 2, the Washington Healthplanfinder announced it had mistakenly canceled around 6,000 consumers’ enrollments and payments for 2015 coverage. The Healthplanfinder outlined steps that affected consumers should take by December 23 to restore their coverage for January 1. Consumers can also call 1-855-923-4633 for assistance.
- FFM: 303,010 Americans selected plans through HealthCare.gov between November 22 and November 28. Forty-nine percent of plan selections came from new enrollees, while 51 percent represented current enrollees renewing their coverage for 2015.
- Colorado: 9,782 marketplace plan selections and 22,487 Medicaid/CHIP enrollments total in OE2 as of November 30.
- Maryland:29,543 marketplace plan selections and 22,253 Medicaid/CHIP enrollments total in OE2 as of December 4.
- Massachusetts: 29,439 marketplace plan selections and 49,928 Medicaid/CHIP enrollments total in OE2 as of December 4.
- Minnesota: 7,829 marketplace plan selections and 13,080 Medicaid/CHIP enrollments total in OE2 as of December 5.