GetCovered

With all the concern over the rapidly spreading coronavirus epidemic and how uninsured people in particular can be expected to pay for testing and treatment of the disease, Andrew Sprung and Dave Anderson have reminded me that uninsured residents of California, the District of Columbia and Maryland may still be able to get covered via their respective ACA exchanges.

CALIFORNIA: You have until April 30th: (June 30th...see update below)

New Special-Enrollment Period Announced

Covered California also announced that effective Feb. 18 it will establish a special-enrollment period for those who were unaware of the state penalty or the new financial help. Consumers who fall into those categories, or who are currently insured off exchange (directly through an insurer) and want to switch to Covered California to benefit from the new state subsidies, will have through April 30 to sign up for coverage.

As I expected, Nevada Health Link is onboard as well:

The @NVHealthLink board just met to approve emergency regs for a one-time Exceptional Circumstance Special Enrollment Period which will run 3/17 - April 15th, 2020. This is for qualified inds. who did not enroll during open enrollment. More information https://t.co/PURxkKPkxp

— Heather K. (@HKORB) March 17, 2020

Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) allow for health insurance coverage enrollment any time during the year. Did you miss the opportunity to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan through Nevada Health Link? Although the deadline to enroll in coverage ended on Dec. 15th, you or a loved one may be eligible to enroll now if you report a life or income change.

Exceptional Circumstance Special Enrollment Period (ECSEP)

With one day left to go before the 2020 ACA Open Enrollment Period wraps up in California, the largest state ACA exchange in the country issued one more update and call to action:

Covered California Sees Thousands of People Enroll Each Day as it Approaches Friday’s Final Day of Open Enrollment

  • More than 364,000 consumers have newly enrolled during the current open-enrollment period, which ends at midnight on Friday, Jan. 31
  • More than 33,000 people have enrolled since Monday, an average of more than 11,000 people per day.
  • California passed two new laws for 2020, one that requires Californians to have health insurance or face a penalty, while the other offers new financial help – for the first time – to eligible consumers purchasing coverage.

Open enrollment is the one time when people can sign up for health insurance in the individual market without needing a qualifying life event.

This came out while I was in DC for the Families USA conference...

Covered California’s New Enrollment Surges Past Last Year’s Mark with More than a Week Before the Upcoming Jan. 31 Deadline

  • More than 318,000 consumers have newly enrolled during the current open-enrollment period, surpassing last year’s open enrollment total.
  • However, new research shows that many Californians – particularly the uninsured – are unaware of a new state law which requires people to have health insurance or face a penalty.
  • In addition, many Californians are unaware of the new financial help that is available for the first time this year, including first-in-the-nation assistance for middle-income consumers.
  • Open enrollment, which continues through Jan. 31, is the one time when people can sign up for health insurance in the individual market without needing a qualifying life event.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced new enrollment data as it moved into the final week of open-enrollment and continued to reach out to consumers about the new state penalty and additional financial help that went into effect with the new year.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 22, more than 318,000 consumers had newly signed up for health insurance through Covered California during the current open-enrollment period, which surpassed last year’s total of 295,000.

via Covered California...

he commemoration of Dr. King’s 91st birthday will include parades in both Los Angeles and Sacramento where Covered California will participate.

Covered California representatives, including executive director Peter V. Lee, will join members of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in participating in Los Angeles’ Kingdom Day Parade.

In addition, Covered California staff will join thousands of others in Sacramento’s March for the Dream parade.

Covered California is committed to ensuring that the rich diversity of people in the state have access to quality health care.

Open enrollment is underway, and people have through Jan. 31 to sign up for coverage and see if they are eligible for financial help.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California will help celebrate the 91st birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, by having a contingent of leaders honor the civil rights icon by participating in parades in both Los Angeles and Sacramento.

This Just In via Covered California:

Covered California Continues to See Strong Interest and Reminds Consumers That Penalty Is Back for 2020 as Open-Enrollment Deadline Approaches

  • More than 269,000 consumers have newly enrolled during the current open-enrollment period, which continues in California through Jan. 31.
  • A new law requires Californians to have health insurance in 2020 or face a penalty when they file their taxes with the Franchise Tax Board in 2021.
  • The penalty can be $2,000 or more for a family of four.
  • New research shows that many Californians, particularly the uninsured, are unaware of the new penalty or the new financial help that is available for the first time this year.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced new data as it approaches the final two weeks of the annual open-enrollment period and reminded consumers about the new state penalty and additional financial help that went into effect with the new year.

As of Saturday, Jan. 4, more than 269,000 consumers had newly signed up for health insurance through Covered California during the current open-enrollment period, which is an increase of 18 percent above the number of consumers who had enrolled at this time last year. In addition, more than 1.15 million existing Covered California members have renewed their coverage for 2020.

Find help at an event near you

Located across Colorado, these events provide educational and enrollment information about health insurance coverage, the application process and financial help through Connect for Health Colorado. While you can’t complete enrollment at all of these events, they are a great opportunity to talk with our network of trusted, certified experts and to schedule appointments.

January 15 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Pueblo Get Covered Walk-in and Enroll
  • Pueblo Get Covered is hosting an open enrollment on Wed, Jan 15 from 8 am - 5 pm at 230 N Union Ave. Pueblo, CO 81003. For more information call 719-583-6611.   Jan 15 is the last day of open enrollment!

January 15 @ 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Last year, California passed several important bills related to expanding coverage in their ACA exchange, Covered California. Two of the biggest changes were the expansion of subsidies to middle-class enrollees earning 400-600% FPL (as well as enhancing subsidies for existing enrollees), and the reinstatement of the individual mandate penalty (the revenue from which is actually supposed to be used to help finance the expanded subsidies).

Just before Christmas, I noted that there may be a major awareness problem with the first of these:

Again, there's still another five full weeks of Open Enrollment in California (six, if you include the missing data from last week). As I've noted, they'll have to add at least 134,000 total enrollees to beat last year, or nearly 200,000 to beat their all-time high. From the looks of things, they're on track to hit that 615K figure in the 200-400% range, but the 400-600% range is gonna be a much steeper climb...which is ironic since that's the population which is eligible for the most dramatic price cuts.

via Connect for Health Colorado:

More than 153,000 Coloradans Enrolled in Health Insurance So Far; Less than Four Weeks Remain to Enroll for 2020 Coverage

DENVER — More than 153,000 Coloradans signed up for a health insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado’s Marketplace by Dec. 18, 2019. Approximately 68 percent of applicants qualify for financial help to lower monthly premium costs.

“I am encouraged by the pace of sign-ups so far,” said Connect for Health Colorado® CEO Kevin Patterson.  “However, it’s not too late to get covered for 2020. I urge you to take advantage of the final deadline and all the support we offer by visiting our site, giving us a call, or finding local help in your community.”

The Open Enrollment period in Colorado ends Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. Residents who sign up for a health insurance plan by the deadline will receive a Feb. 1, 2020 coverage start date.

via Connect for Health Colorado:

Connect for Health Colorado Extends Enrollment Deadline for January Coverage to Dec. 18, 2019 

DENVER –  To help as many people as possible get Jan. 1, 2020 coverage, Connect for Health Colorado is pleased to announce that the deadline to get coverage on Jan. 1 has been extended. Coloradans have until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday Dec. 18, 2019 to sign up for a health insurance plan that starts on Jan. 1, 2020.

To sign up for coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2020, Coloradans must take the following steps: 

1. Complete an application and select a health insurance plan online at ConnectforHealthCO.com, over the phone at 855-752-6749, or by working with a certified enrollment expert by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Connect for Health Colorado reported 24,000 QHP selections as of 11/15. Now they're out with another update:

Connect for Health Colorado® Urges Residents to Shop by December 15 for January Coverage

Nearly 42,000 Coloradans signed up for a health insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado’s Marketplace between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. Approximately 70 percent of applicants qualify for financial help in the first month of the Open Enrollment period. Residents must sign up for a plan by Dec. 15, 2019 to have coverage in place by Jan. 1, 2020, however, Open Enrollment runs through Jan. 15, 2020. 

Coloradans can sign up for a Marketplace plan online, over the phone or in person with a certified enrollment expert. Connect for Health Colorado has 23 enrollment centers to provide residents with walk-in help at different times throughout the week. Residents can also schedule an appointment. 

This Just In via the Washington HealthPlanFinder:

Washington Healthplanfinder Urges Customers to Act Fast for Jan. 1 Coverage

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) today is warning customers without 2020 coverage that Sunday, Dec. 15 at 11:59 p.m. is the deadline to sign up for health and dental plans through Washington Healthplanfinder that begin on Jan. 1.

Since the open enrollment period began, more than 187,000 Washingtonians have already selected 2020 Qualified Health Plans (QHP) using Washington Healthplanfinder, including around 15,000 residents who signed up for health coverage over the past week. With traffic to wahealthplanfinder.org expected to continue rising, customers needing 2020 coverage are directed to submit an application and lock in their plan selection immediately to avoid any potential delays.

Over at the Washington Post, reporter Yasmeen Abutaleb has a disturbing-sounding story which immediately caught my eye and raised major internal alarms within the healthcare wonk/advocate community:

Critics say ‘junk plans’ are being pushed on ACA exchanges

The Trump administration has encouraged consumers to use private brokers, who often make more money if they sell the less robust plans.

The Trump administration is encouraging consumers on the Obamacare individual market to seek help from private brokers, who are permitted to sell short-term health plans that critics deride as “junk” because they don’t protect people with preexisting conditions, or cover costly services such as hospital care, in many cases.

So far, this is nothing new; I've been warning people about this since day one...it's the 2nd item on my "Seven Important Things to Remember" blog post from November 1st:

Connect for Health Colorado® Reports Coloradans are Shopping Around for 2020 Coverage

DENVER – Nearly 24,000 Coloradans have signed up for a health insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado’s Marketplace between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15. for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2020.

More Coloradans buying their own health insurance are seeing lower premiums, largely due to the reinsurance program that passed this year. Reinsurance helps insurers with their most costly claims. However, given the complexities of how financial help available through the Marketplace is calculated, current customers should shop around to reduce monthly costs.

Heh. This is a pretty good layman-speak for #ReverseSilverLoading.

On average, those who qualify to automatically renew their plan would lower their premiums by 15 percent (compared to 2019) if they switch to the lowest-cost plan in their current level of coverage.

This Just In from DC Health Link...

DC Health Link Extends 2019 Open Enrollment Deadline to Wednesday, Feb. 6

Washington, DC­­ – DC residents will have an additional six days to sign up for 2019 health insurance coverage through DC Health Link.  The new deadline to sign up is 11:59pm on Wednesday, February 6.  Individuals who sign up by that deadline will have coverage beginning March 1, 2019.

DC Health Link customer service representatives will be available today at (855) 532-5465 from 8:00am to 8:00pm and on Monday, February 4th through Wednesday, February 6th to work with individuals seeking to enroll in health insurance coverage effective March 1. In-person assistance will also be available at enrollment centers throughout the District to assist residents with the enrollment process through February 6th.

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