- Federal guidance on retroactive coverage: New guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides health insurance marketplaces the option to offer consumers who experienced technical difficulties applying during open enrollment retroactive health coverage, tax credits, and cost-sharing reductions. This guidance includes consumers who did not obtain any coverage and those who enrolled in a plan outside the marketplace after their attempt to enroll through the marketplace failed. The consumers would be responsible for their share of premiums for the retroactive months.
- HealthCare.gov deactivates chat feature: CMS reports that the online chat function has been disabled for the rest of open enrollment so that those representatives can be shifted to the call center.
- Four million enrolled in marketplace plans: In the first three and a half weeks of February, 700,000 American enrolled in marketplace plans, bringing total enrollments since October 1, 2013 to four million!
- Medicaid and CHIP enrollment:New official CMS enrollment numbers put total Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) determinations by state-based agencies at 8.9 million for the period from October 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014, including 2.4 million in January. Note: These figures are missing data from three states, include renewals from 14 states, do not include determinations by federally facilitated marketplaces, and do not separate individuals who are newly eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act from those who were previously eligible but not enrolled.
- Latino Enrollment Summits: Enroll America has joined with other national and local organizations to host a number of events focusing on bolstering Latinos’ enrollment in cities across the country. The events began in January, gained momentum over the last month, and will continue through March. Just this weekend, there were events in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Philadelphia.
- Streamlined account creation on HealthCare.gov: The HealthCare.gov account creation process has been simplified from four screens into one, automatically uses a consumer’s email as the username, and includes real-time dynamic verification of emails, spelling, and successful completion of each section. These changes should speed up account creation and reduce the chances of system errors and forgotten usernames.
- Covered California’s website failure: Last week, a software error caused California’s marketplace to be down for five days (February 19-24) and to lose some information entered by consumers from February 17-19. While Covered California is working on restoring data where possible, at least 14,500 applicants will have to re-start or update their applications. The marketplace issued a fact sheet explaining the system outage, who was affected, and what steps consumers need to take.
- Maryland Health Connection plan payments: Maryland officials announced that just over half of their marketplace plan enrollees have paid their first premium, a figure well below other state-based marketplaces that have reported these numbers (Vermont is at around 90 percent, Washington at 87 percent, and Nevada at 67 percent).