February 24 – March 2, 2015

Connecting Consumers to Health Coverage During Tax Season:

  • Updates on 1095-A Tax Forms: The IRS announced on February 24 that individuals who received an incorrect 1095-A form from the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) and who already filed their taxes are not required to file an amended return, but may want to depending on their situation. California’s marketplace is also sending corrected forms to some enrollees, and Minnesota is issuing its final 1095-As this week.
  • More Tax Time Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs): In the past week, three more state-based marketplaces (SBMs) — Connecticut, Kentucky, and Maryland —announced new SEPs for consumers who find out they owe a fine for not having health coverage. See Enroll America’s blog for a full roundup of state-level accommodations for tax time.

HHS Releases Snapshot on New and Returning FFM Consumers: On February 25, HHS shared new information about marketplace enrollees for the 37 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform:

  • 4.67 million consumers enrolled in marketplace coverage for the first time.
  • 2.21 million consumers actively renewed their marketplace coverage, including 1.20 million who selected a new plan for 2015 and 1.01 million who elected to stay with the same plan they had in 2014.
  • 1.96 million consumers were automatically re-enrolled in coverage for 2015.
  • 580,000 consumers returned to marketplace to review their options after initially being automatically re-enrolled.

Gallup Poll Shows 20 Percent Decline in Uninsured Rate in 2014: On February 24, Gallup released its 2014 annualized nationwide and state-by-state rates for health insurance coverage. The report shows that the national uninsured rate in 2014 was 13.8 percent, a 20 percent decline from 2013. Gallup also found that states with a state-based or partnership marketplace and/or expanded Medicaid program saw greater gains, on average, in insurance coverage than states that didn’t pursue either option.

Supreme Court Will Hear Legal Challenge to Tax Credits in FFMs: On March 4, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a legal challenge regarding whether enrollees in FFM states are allowed to receive tax credits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had previously held unanimously in this case that FFM enrollees were eligible to receive premium tax credits, and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an earlier judgment holding that tax credits could not be provided to FFM enrollees. As the Supreme Court will not likely issue a decision until next June, there is no immediate impact on consumers. Current enrollees will be able to receive financial help as this judicial process continues.

SBM Updates:

  • Minnesota:
    • On March 2, MNsure released its 2016 Navigator grant funding opportunity for organizations interested in conducting outreach and enrollment efforts in Minnesota. MNsure is awarding $4 million in grants for the 2016 open enrollment period. Last year, MNsure awarded $4.6 million. Grant proposals are due April 6 and will be awarded in July.
    • On February 17, the state’s legislative auditor published a report reviewing the first year of the marketplace’s operations, which makes recommendations on how to improve its enrollment and customer service systems.
  • Washington State: On February 24, the marketplace announced that, within two days, it would be reversing withdrawals of incorrect amounts of premium payments from around 13,000 enrollees’ bank accounts.
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