This press release came out last week but I covered all the other state-based exchange Open Enrollment press releases so I figured I should include this one as well:

Covered California for Small Business Announces Expanded Choices and an Average Rate Change of 4.1 Percent for 2020

Like Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain, I can't seem to quit playing around with the jaw-dropping possibilities which could impact future Medical Loss Ratio rebate payments in response to the ghosts of Open Enrollment Periods past.

Back in June, I reported that the Supreme Court of the United States had agreed to take up the long-simmering (4 years!) Risk Corridor Massacre class action lawsuit:

On Monday, along with posting their decisions on several important federal cases, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that, much to the surprise of many healthcare wonks, they will take up the long-gestating (and presumed dead) Risk Corridor Massacre lawsuit:

Big news: SCOTUS is taking up the ACA risk corridors case. GOP's decision to stymie that program arguably did the most damage to the ACA marketplaces. https://t.co/VeMRcd5MYn

Back in late June, right after the first Democratic Primary Candidate Presidential Debate, I posted an analysis & table to break out exactly where each of the then-20 (!) candidates stood when it comes to the Next Big Thing in U.S. healthcare policy. I posted a couple of updates as the summer and early fall progressed.

At the time, my main point was that regardless of their official campaign rhetoric, the truth was that nearly all of the candidates were open to multiple paths towards expanding healthcare coverage...both in terms of the number of people covered, the scope of that coverage and the cost of coverage to the enrollees, with a greater portion of the total cost being borne by the federal government.

via the Washington Healthplanfinder:

Washington Healthplanfinder Ready for Start of 2020 Open Enrollment

  • More health plans, new health insurance carriers, and lower premiums available in most counties

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) announced today the start of the 2020 open enrollment period that will feature more plan options and the potential for lower premiums for the majority of customers.

Now through December 15, Washingtonians seeking health insurance plans for themselves and their families can visit Washington Healthplanfinder to review and enroll in coverage. This year customers will find a total of 66 qualified health plans (QHP) from nine insurance providers – a 65 percent increase in QHPs from the 40 plans available last year. And, for the first time ever, a bronze plan offering will be available in every county in the state.

via HealthSource RI:

Need health insurance in 2020? Now’s the time to pick or renew your plan

HealthSource RI announces 2020 Open Enrollment period Nov. 1st – Dec 31st

EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (October 31, 2019) HealthSource RI, the state health insurance exchange, helps connect Rhode Islanders to a wide range of high quality, affordable health coverage options. Residents are encouraged to select and pay for a plan through HealthSource RI by December 23rd for coverage beginning January 1, 2020. The last possible day to enroll and pay for a plan is December 31st, but customers may experience a delay in receiving ID cards if they enroll after December 23rd.

“HealthSource RI helps keep health care costs low while ensuring that Rhode Islanders have access to high-quality care,” said Governor Raimondo. “I urge Rhode Islanders to take time to explore HealthSource RI’s many coverage options this open enrollment.”

via NY State of Health:

Press Release: Governor Cuomo Announces the Start of NY State Of Health's 2020 Open Enrollment Period

  • New York's Uninsured Rate Continues to Decline, Among Lowest in the Nation
  • More than 4.8 Million New Yorkers Have Enrolled Through NY State of Health

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that on November 1, NY State of Health - New York State's Health Plan Marketplace and a national leader in enrolling people into quality, affordable health coverage - will begin its seventh annual open enrollment period for New Yorkers who want quality, low-cost health insurance coverage in 2020.

via the ALL-NEW Nevada Health Link:

Nov. 1 kicks off the Plan Year 2020 Open Enrollment Period. By now, we hope you’ve had a chance to explore the new website, and if you’re a returning customer, you’ve probably already claimed your account. Still have questions? No worries. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) to make shopping for a qualified health plan through Nevada Health Link as seamless as possible.

What is Nevada Health Link?

Run by the state agency: Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, Nevada Health Link is Nevada’s online marketplace where eligible Nevadans can shop for, compare and purchase Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance plans that fit their needs and budget.  Check out our video.

I’m a returning Nevada Health Link customer. What do I need to do to get ready for Plan Year 2020 Open Enrollment?

via Connect for Health Colorado:

Open Enrollment for 2020 Coverage Brings Savings for Coloradans Who Actively Shop

DENVER – The Open Enrollment period to purchase health insurance for 2020 kicks off Friday, Nov. 1, with rates lower across the board for the first time since the Marketplace opened for business in 2013. And while rates are lower, Connect for Health Colorado strongly encourages all customers to compare their plan options before making a selection.

With the complexities of how the tax credit is calculated, customers who qualify for financial help will likely see a decrease in the dollar amount of assistance. It’s important to know that customers who qualify for financial help can reduce premiums an average of eight to 19 percent by switching to the lowest-cost plan available in their current coverage level. 

via Your Health Idaho:

  • Open Enrollment for health insurance in Idaho begins November 1
  • New for 2020, Medicaid expansion could affect eligibility

BOISE, Idaho – Open Enrollment for 2020 health insurance coverage begins Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 16. During this time, Idahoans can shop, compare, and enroll in a plan through the state health insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho.

A total of 116 medical and 13 dental plans from six participating insurance carriers are available at Your Health Idaho for 2020. Your Heath Idaho Executive Director, Pat Kelly, urges those seeking coverage to use the comparison tool and consider their options, as plans can vary by county.

“In 2020, every county in the state has at least three insurance carriers to choose from, and most have four. At YourHealthIdaho.org, not only can Idahoans shop and compare plans side-by side, but they can also search for provider networks and prescription drug coverage to make sure the plan they purchase really works for them,” Kelly said.

via the Maryland Health Connection:

HEALTH PLAN RATES HAVE DROPPED; OPEN ENROLLMENT BEGINS NOV. 1

  • “START HERE” AT MARYLANDHEALTHCONNECTION.GOV

BALTIMORE (Oct. 30, 2019) - “Start Here” will be the theme for 2020 health care open enrollment season that begins Nov. 1 with Maryland Health Connection.

The “Start Here” campaign will appear on social media, print, online and other venues, including gas station TVs, to emphasize where Marylanders can go to enroll and use the free, expert advisers located throughout Maryland. A TV ad will run to complement the campaign.

Open enrollment begins on MarylandHealthConnection.gov at 5 a.m. on Nov. 1. Dec. 15 is the deadline to sign up for 2020 coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2020.

New this year, Value Plans feature lower deductibles and increased access to primary care, mental health care, and generic drugs before deductibles apply. Value plans are designed to lower consumers’ out-of-pocket costs for the health care services the majority of people use most frequently.

via the Massachusetts Health Connector:

Open Enrollment begins through Massachusetts Health Connector

BOSTON – Nov. 1, 2019 – The Massachusetts Health Connector started Open Enrollment this morning, making affordable coverage available to anyone in Massachusetts without health insurance, including lower-income people who can take advantage of low premiums and co-pays through the ConnectorCare program.

The Health Connector is Massachusetts’ state-based health insurance exchange, and provides health insurance to residents who do not get coverage through their employer. More than 97 percent of Massachusetts residents have health insurance, a result of the state’s 13-year old law which sought to ensure everyone in the Commonwealth has coverage.

And we're off! via Minnesota's ACA exchange, MNsure.org:

MNsure Open Enrollment begins Today and Runs through December 23

ST. PAUL, Minn.—MNsure's seventh open enrollment period begins today, November 1. Minnesotans looking for coverage should visit MNsure.org to shop and compare plans. MNsure's seven-week open enrollment period runs until December 23, 2019.

Representatives from MNsure's Contact Center will be answering calls from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. this evening. Extended hours can be found below. 

Help is available:

Back in March I wrote an analysis of H.R.1868, the House Democrats bill which comprises the core of the larger H.R.1884 "ACA 2.0" bill. H.R.1884 includes a suite of about a dozen provisions to protect, repair and strengthen the ACA, but the House Dems also broke the larger piece of legislation down into a dozen smaller bills as well.

Some of these "mini-ACA 2.0" bills only make minor improvements to the law, or in ways which are important but would take a few years to see obvious results. Others, however, make huge improvements and would be immediately obvious, and of those, the single most dramatic and important one is H.R.1868.

The official title is the "Health Care Affordability Act of 2019", but I just call both it and H.R.1884 (the "Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019") by the much simpler and more accurate moniker "ACA 2.0".

There are three insurance carriers offering ACA-compliant individual market plans in West Virginia: CareSource, Highmark BCBS and Optum, although Optum has barely any enrollees at all, and the other two combined only total around 26,000 people in the state.

The final, approved average unsubsdized premiums for 2020 haven't changed from the requested rates--the weighted statewide average is a 6.7% increase.

Nothing terribly noteworthy about any of this, except that with that 6.7% increase, West Virginia has just taken the title for Most Expensive Obamacare Premiums in the Country, with average premiums averaging $990/month per enrollee, or nearly $12,000/year apiece.

This record was held by Wyoming last year (prior to that I believe Alaska had by far the highest rates in the country, until they instituted their ACA reinsurance waiver a few years back, which reduced full-price premiums by a good 25% or so).

Back in mid-August, I plugged in the preliminary 2020 individual market rate change requests for unsubsidized enrollees in Texas. Unfortunately, at the time I only had hard enrollment data for some of the carriers, which meant I could only run a "semi-weighted" statewide average, which came in at +0.8%.

Since then, I've managed to find the enrollment data for the rest of the carriers as well...and yesterday CMS posted the final, approved 2020 rate changes, allowing me to run the complete, final, fully-weighted average. In the end rates in Texas are dropping by 1.4%:

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