May 20, 2014 – June 2, 2014

New Consumer Tool Screens Consumers’ Eligibility to Enroll Outside of Open Enrollment:On June 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a new toolon to help consumers determine if they may be eligible to sign up outside of open enrollment, either through a Special Enrollment Period, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Updates from State-Based Marketplaces:

  • Massachusetts: On May 19, the Massachusetts Health Connector released its official Notice of Grant Opportunity for its navigator program for the next open enrollment period. The Connector is expecting to award approximately $1 million in grants, which is the same as this past year. Grant proposals are due June 13, and grants will be awarded July 11.
  • Nevada: On May 20, Nevada Health Link’s board voted unanimously to move from its current website enrollment platform to for the next open enrollment period. Nevada will continue to manage the health plans offered on the marketplace, and conduct marketing, consumer outreach, and application assistance in the state. 

New Insurers Looking to Enter Marketplaces Next Year: Four new carriers submitted rates to the Washington Health Plan Finder for 2015, and new insurers are reportedly planning on entering the marketplaces in Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

Third-Party Payment Clarification for Qualified Health Plans (QHPs): In a May 21 letter, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) further clarified that QHPs can accept premium and cost-sharing payments from government programs, like the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, as well as private, not-for-profit foundations that provide payment based solely on consumers’ financial situation and not their health status. Health plans are not required (nor encouraged) to accept premium and cost-sharing payments from hospitals or other providers groups. Additional guidance will not be issued at this time.

Committee Approves Nominee for HHS Secretary On May 21, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Sylvia Burwell for HHS secretary (21 approved and three opposed). Burwell’s nomination will next go to the full Senate for final consideration; she is expected to be confirmed.

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