February 18, 2014 – February 24, 2014

Notable Updates

  • March coverage begins: Coverage begins on Saturday, March 1 for consumers who signed up between January 16 and February 15.

Top Successes

  • State-based marketplaces continue to make improvements
    • California: Covered California reports that 28 percent of those who enrolled in January were Latino. This is up from 18 percent in December. The state’s marketplace continues to boost its Latino outreach campaign, Spanish-speaking staff, and Spanish-language resources in an effort to attract Latinos, who make up half of the state’s eligible uninsured population.
    • Minnesota: MNsure is changing its premium payment process in response to reports of consumer confusion. Previously, MNsure billed consumers for their first month’s premium and then turned the payment process over to the issuer. Now consumers have a choice: they can pay their first month’s premium through MNsure after selecting a plan or opt to get billed by the insurance company directly.
  • Uninsured seeking coverage in New York’s marketplace: New York State of Health reports that 69 percent of its applicants were uninsured. This suggests that many New Yorkers without insurance are learning about the marketplace and interested in the new health coverage options.
  • New identity and eligibility verification resource: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new factsheet for federally facilitated marketplaces (FFMs) that explains the mechanisms of the identity and eligibility verification processes, and provides tips for consumers having difficulty completing this part of the application.

Consumer Experiences in the Field

  • Consumer issues:  Enroll America’s field staff report that the most common problems consumers encountered this past week relate to transparency surrounding provider networks, with both consumers and providers confused about who is included in marketplace plans.

Challenges

  • Medicaid applications processes
    • FFM: We continue to get mixed reports on the success of electronic file handoffs from HealthCare.gov to FFM state Medicaid agencies. New Hampshire advocates report successful handoffs, and Ohio is moving forward with a workaround strategy, while other states, like Texas, Georgia, and Indiana, have thousands of applications in limbo.
    • New York: An old glitch in Medicaid enrollment through New York State of Health is proving problematic now. Early in open enrollment, the marketplace functionality for Medicaid plan selections did not work, and consumers determined Medicaid eligible could not select a plan and finalize their enrollment. The Medicaid plan selection now functions but many of these consumers have not returned to complete the process. The state is sending notices urging them to return and select a plan.
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