First Tax Season with Health Coverage Requirement and Tax Credit Reconciliation Approaching: On January 8, the secretaries of the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury released a joint statement outlining their plans to reach and educate consumers about changes in their tax return forms and what additional steps they may need to take this year. Later in the week, the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM) began sending out tax forms that enrollees can use to verify their health coverage for tax purposes and report the amount of financial assistance they received in 2014. For the first time, Americans will have to report on their taxes whether they had health coverage during the past year, and marketplace enrollees will have to report how much financial help they received to lower the cost of health coverage.
- Helping consumers renew coverage into “missing” plans: HHS announced that due to data errors, some 2015 health plans had been missing from HealthCare.gov’s plan comparison and premium estimator tools. The FFM call center was given lists of which hidden plans are available, and HHS is restoring plans to the website once they can verify their data. If consumers searched for and tried to enroll in a specific plan that was temporarily missing from the site, they have until the end of OE2 on February 15 to change to any plan that reappears.
- Errors in PDF versions of eligibility results: As of January 1, 2015, some PDF versions of consumers’ eligibility determinations have displayed inaccurate results. HHS announced that they are working to resolve the issue. Information about the tax credit and premium amounts consumers see online as part of the plan selection process remains correct.
- New tip sheets for assisters: HHS released three new tip sheets for assisters with “dos and don’ts” for outreach and education, application and enrollment assistance, and providing service that is culturally and linguistically appropriate as well as accessible to consumers with disabilities.
State-Based Marketplace (SBM) Updates:
- California: On January 5, the state’s insurance commissioner announced an emergency regulation to strengthen issuers’ provider networks, make provider directories more up-to-date, and limit out-of-network charges for consumers who had received care from providers they believed to be in-network.
- Hawaii: On January 5, the Hawaii Health Connector released its plan for financial sustainability, including a projection that the marketplace would raise enough revenue to break even by 2023.
- Massachusetts: Effective January 16, the executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector, Jean Yang, will resign. Maydad Cohen will serve as interim executive director.
- Minnesota: On January 7, MNsure announced it had received a federal grant adjustment of $34 million from the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIO) for IT and consumer assistance improvements.
- Rhode Island: On December 30, HealthSource RI announced that Anya Rader Wallack, who had worked on health care reform in Massachusetts and Vermont, would replace Christine Ferguson as executive director in the first week of January.
- FFM: A total of 6,593,388 Americans were enrolled in plans through HealthCare.gov, including automatic re-enrollments, as of January 2.
- Colorado: A total of 113,864 marketplace plan selections and 37,498 Medicaid/CHIP enrollments as of December 31.
- Massachusetts: A total of 78,849 marketplace plan selections and 168,130 Medicaid/CHIP enrollments as of January 11.
- Minnesota: A total of 41,704 marketplace plan selections and 42,161 Medicaid/CHIP enrollments as of January 6.
- Rhode Island: A total of 26,380 marketplace plan selections as of January 3.
- Washington State: A total of 107,071 marketplace plan selections and 471,601 Medicaid/CHIP enrollments as of December 31.