March 10 – March 16, 2015

Special Enrollment Period Starts for Certain Consumers Facing 2014 Tax Fine: From March 15 through April 30, some consumers in states using will be able to enroll in marketplace coverage through a unique, time-limited Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Consumers can qualify if they currently do not have 2015 health coverage, are subject to a fine on their taxes for not having coverage for at least part of 2014, and attest that they learned about the fine after the end of the most recent open enrollment period. They can qualify even if they have not yet filed their taxes and paid their fine. Anyone who enrolls in a new plan through the SEP can change plans through April 30. Many state-based marketplaces (SBMs) have also created SEPs for tax season. See our blog for a collection of their state-specific dates and policies.

Over 16 Million Americans Gain Health Insurance Under ACA: On March 16,the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) released an analysis of health coverage gains since 2010, when the first insurance reforms began as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The gains include 2.3 million young adults who got coverage through a parent’s plan between 2010 and October 2013 and 14.1 million adults who gained coverage since the health insurance marketplaces opened in October 2013. The gains in marketplace coverage correspond to a 7 percentage-point decrease in the uninsured rate for adults (from 20 percent at the end of 2013 to 13 percent at the beginning of 2015). The report also summarizes the decline in uninsured rates by race/ethnicity, family income, and age. Working to Address Incorrect Income Calculations: The enrollment platform is incorrectly including some applicants’ tax dependents’ Social Security benefits as income and giving inaccurate eligibility determinations as a result. HHS is advising assisters helping consumers facing this problem to request a determination from their state’s Medicaid agency rather than the marketplace (if they would be eligible) and/or to appeal the marketplace’s eligibility determination.

State-Based Marketplace Updates:

  • Illinois: On March 10, Karin Zosel was announced as the incoming executive director of Get Covered Illinois, the state’s partnership marketplace.
  • Massachusetts: To simplify plan selection for consumers, the Massachusetts Health Connector is considering capping the number of plans each issuer can offer on the marketplace at 14 during the next open enrollment period (for the 2016 plan year). During the most recent open enrollment period, 11 issuers offered a total of 126 plans, with more than 30 from one issuer.
  • Washington State: The Washington Healthplanfinder board of directors voted to launch a review of the state’s enrollment and eligibility-determination systems to address glitches in automatic renewals and tax-credit calculation.
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