Mandate Penalty

I already called attention to this in my last post, but it's so long & filled with data wonk stuff that I'm reposting a separate entry to specifically highlight the SEP specifically:

  • Covered California is announcing a special-enrollment period through April 30 to address concerns that many Californians remain unaware of the new financial help or the new state penalty.

Hmmmm....the Special Enrollment Period is interesting. HealthCare.Gov and some state exchanges did something like this in spring 2015 (the first year people had to actually pay the mandate penalty) and managed to get around 210,000 more enrollees nationally. Of course, the penalty for 2014 was only $95 or 1% of income at the time...now it's up to $695/person or 2.5% of household income, so it's a bigger deal.

New Special-Enrollment Period Announced

When I last checked in on Covered California a couple of weeks ago, they still had two days left before their 2020 Open Enrollment deadline, and had managed to rack up 1.51 million on-exchange enrollments. This included 1.15 million renewals of existing enrollees, plus another 364,000 new enrollees.

I noted at the time that they had just barely beaten 2019's total with two days to go, and would have to add about 7,500 more to break 2018's total, and another 43,000 to beat 2017.

Well, they ended up in between the two, partly due to an overestimate of the renewal figure:

New California Policies Make Huge Difference, Increasing New Signups During Covered California’s Open Enrollment by 41 Percent

New Special-Enrollment Period Announced to Continue to Get Word Out on New Subsidies and Penalty

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.

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.

With my big MLR Rebate project finally out of the way, I have a backlog of other write-ups, including several approved 2020 premium rate changes. First up is tiny Rhode Island.

As you may recall, back in July the Rhode Island insurance commissioner announced that the state was following New Jersey's model: They're reinstating the individual mandate penalty, and using the revenue from that to help fund their just-approved state reinsurance program to reduce unsubsidized premiums by 5-6 percentage points:

If approved, Rhode Island would have a $14.7 million reinsurance program for 2020 funded through the individual mandate penalty and federal pass-through funding. Rhode Island estimates a federal pass-through rate of 43 percent. Of the $14.7 million, the federal government would contribute less than half of the funds (about $6.4 million), and the state would contribute about $8.3 million.

OK, it feels a bit surreal to post about California's 2020 ACA premiums--and especially mentioning the fact that they're reinstating the ACA individual mandate penalty at the state level--on the very same day that the entire ACA itself is on the brink of complete oblivion (again), due specifically TO the fact that Congressional Republicans repealed the federal mandate penalty..

And yet, here we are:

California’s Initiatives Will Lead to Hundreds of Thousands Gaining Health Care Coverage With Lower Premiums and New Financial Help