September 30, 2014 – October 6, 2014

HealthCare.gov Updated for Coming Open Enrollment Period: On October 4, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rolled out a new design for HealthCare.gov. The redesigned website has been reorganized to ease navigation and focus on open enrollment for the 2015 plan year (OE2). Consumers applying for coverage for the last few months of the 2014 plan year, either through a special enrollment period, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), are now routed through a screening tool, but can still apply for coverage through HealthCare.gov.

State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs) Improve Provider Directories for OE2: The Georgetown Center on Health Insurance Reforms reports on efforts in Colorado, Maryland, and New York to improve the accuracy and display of provider networks in their marketplaces. Colorado is requiring insurers to submit provider information monthly, with additional updates during open enrollment. Maryland is using a database system for insurers to maintain current provider data. And, New York is requiring insurers to submit any changes in provider networks within 15 days and is working on better ways for consumers to compare provider networks when they are shopping for plans. 

Final 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace Rates Approved in More States

  • Arkansas: On October 3, the Arkansas Insurance Department announced final health insurance marketplace rates for 2015, pending final federal approval. Premiums will decrease by an average of 2 percent, and a fifth insurer is joining the health insurance marketplace.
  • California: Two California state agencies — the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance — finalized 2015 premium rates for Covered California, the state’s marketplace. These rates were also approved by Covered California. On average, premiums will increase by 4.2 percent.
  • Minnesota: On October 1, the Minnesota Department of Commerce approved 2015 health insurance rates for MNsure, the state’s marketplace, with average premium increases of 4.5 percent. Minnesota’s marketplace premiums will remain among the lowest in the country.

Illinois Announces Grantees for State Outreach and Education Effort: The Illinois Department of Public Health awarded $25.8 million to 37 organizations to serve as Navigators in their In-Person Counselor (IPC) Program. IPC funding comes from the federal government but it is run through Illinois’ partnership marketplace, Get Covered Illinois. The full list of grant recipients is available online.

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