State-Based Exchanges

via Get Covered NJ (email):

As Open Enrollment Deadline Nears, Residents Urged to Sign Up for Health Insurance at Get Covered New Jersey

  • ​8 in 10 Qualify For Financial Help to Lower Costs

TRENTON – As the Open Enrollment deadline nears, Governor Phil Murphy, Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, and state legislators today urged residents in need of health insurance for 2021 to sign up for a plan at Get Covered New Jersey.

Open enrollment for the state’s official health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey ends January 31, 2021. Commissioner Caride reminded New Jerseyans that open enrollment is the only time during the year when residents can enroll in coverage, unless they have a major life event that qualifies them for a Special Enrollment Period or they qualify for NJ FamilyCare. With nearly two weeks left in open enrollment, now is the time to visit Get Covered New Jersey to shop for quality, affordable health insurance and to enroll in a plan by the January 31, 2021 deadline.

via Get Covered NJ:

Final Days to Enroll in Health Insurance at Get Covered New Jersey for January 1st Coverage

  • ​Residents Must Enroll by Dec. 31 for Coverage Beginning in the New Year; 8 in 10 Qualify For Financial Help

TRENTON – Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride today reminded New Jersey residents that there are three days left to enroll in health coverage that starts on the first of the year. New Jersey residents can shop for quality, affordable health insurance at the state’s official health insurance marketplace, Get Covered New Jersey. Residents must select a plan by December 31, 2020 for coverage beginning January 1, 2021.

Last week, Get Covered New Jersey, NJ's brand-new state-based ACA exchange, reminded New Jersey residents to enroll via Open Enrollment via the #GetCovered2021 campaign. The press release also mentioned, in passing, that nearly 227,000 NJ residents have already signed up for 2021, over 20,000 of whom are new enrollees.

Today, they posted a much more detailed breakout of their enrollment data so far, as well as reminding residents that unlike most states, New Jersey's Open Enrollment Period isn't over until the end of January, although they have to enroll by December 31st for coverage starting January 1st:

via Get Covered New Jersey, NJ's brand-new state-based ACA exchange:

Governor Murphy Designates December 10th “Get Covered Day,” Encourages New Jerseyans to Get Covered During Open Enrollment

  • Proclamation is part of Get Covered 2021, a National Campaign to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 & Encourage Residents to Enroll in Health Coverage

TRENTON — Joining with state partners from across the country in encouraging residents to enroll in health insurance during the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period, Governor Phil Murphy issued a proclamation designating today, December 10, 2020, as “Get Covered Day” in New Jersey. Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride reminded residents that the deadline to enroll for coverage starting in the New Year is December 31st.

It was a little over a year ago that New Jersey legislators passed, after some last-minute drama, a bill to follow in the footsteps of Nevada and split off from the federal ACA exchange, HealthCare.Gov (there's actually a dozen other states which also operate their own full state-based exchanges as well, but 11 of them were never hosted by the federal exchange in the first place. The exception is Idaho, which was hosted by HC.gov for one year before splitting off, but that was always their plan from the start).

New Jersey's ACA portal website, Get Covered NJ, has actually been live for two enrollment periods already, but until now it was just that--an information portal only. The actual healthcare policy shopping/enrollment process was still handled through HealthCare.Gov.

Pennsylvania launches new state-based health insurance marketplace, Pennie

  • Pennie replaces Healthcare.Gov and will improve access to coverage and increase affordability

Harrisburg, PA – September 22, 2020 – Today, Pennsylvania announced, Pennie, the new state-based health insurance marketplace for 2021 coverage. Pennie is available to all Pennsylvanians and aims to improve the accessibility and affordability of individual market health coverage. It is also the only place that connects Pennsylvanians to financial assistance to reduce the cost of coverage and care.

Pennie was created by Act 42 of 2019, passed unanimously by both chambers of the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on July 2, 2019.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and just getting generally swamped, I haven't gotten around to writing about Pennsylvania's state-based ACA exchange, due to launch this fall, since way back in December:

PA’s A Step Closer To Starting A State-Based Health Insurance Exchange

Pennsylvania’s new, state-run health ​insurance exchange is getting rolling ahead of its launch in 2021.

The commonwealth has chosen a California-based company, GetInsured to run it.

...Zachary Sherman, who heads the newly-created Pennsylvania Health Insurance Exchange Authority, said the contract with GetInsured will cost around $25 million annually, plus startup expenses that’ll be spread over several years.

“That’s compared to what we currently pay for Healthcare.gov, which is in the $90 to $95 million range,” he said.

Sherman said the administration chose GetInsured because it has already contracted with other states, like Nevada and Minnesota.

He said the new exchange is expected to save people between five and ten percent every year on premiums.

I haven't written anything about Pennsylvania's surprisingly bipartisan decision to break off of the federal ACA exchange at HealthCare.Gov onto their own state-based exchange since June:

After some last-minute drama in one state and a surprising lack of drama in another, both New Jersey and Pennsylvania have officially passed bills allowing them to each establish their own ACA exchanges and enrollment platforms, splitting off from the federal exchange and HealthCare.Gov:

Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania is poised to roll out its own online health insurance exchange to take the place of the one run by the federal government for the state's residents since 2014, saying it can save money for hundreds of thousands of policy-buyers.

I noted yesterday that Virginia is the latest state to consider jumping onboard the State-Based Exchange train, joining Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine and possibly Oregon in making the move. Every time I've mentioned Oregon, however, I've had to put a bit of an asterisk on it because I wasn't quite sure whether or not their shift back to their own full tech platform was still a go or not.

Like Nevada, Oregon did have their own full exchange once upon a time. Back in the first ACA Open Enrollment Period from 2013-2014, both states were among those which ran their own exchange websites. Nevada's was developed by Xerox; Oregon's was developed by Oracle.

Way back in October 2013, the very first official ACA Open Enrollment Period began...and was an immediate disaster for not just the federal exchange website (HealthCare.Gov), but also for about half of the states which were operating their own whole-widget ACA exchange websites.

That first year, there were 15 states doing so: California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia (not actually a state, I know), Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington State. There were oddball problems at launch with most of them, but HI, MD, MA, MN, NV, OR and VT had serious issues.

After some last-minute drama in one state and a surprising lack of drama in another, both New Jersey and Pennsylvania have officially passed bills allowing them to each establish their own ACA exchanges and enrollment platforms, splitting off from the federal exchange and HealthCare.Gov:

New Jersey:

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill establishing a state-based health care marketplace.

Murphy signed the legislation on Friday in a private ceremony.

Under current law, New Jersey uses a federal exchange, or marketplace, letting people shop for and enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Last week I noted that Pennsylvania is joining Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey and (apparently) Oregon in moving away from the federal ACA exchange mothership known as HealthCare.Gov:

Pennsylvania moves to take over health insurance exchange

Pennsylvania is moving to take over the online health insurance exchange that’s been operated by the federal government since 2014, saying it can cut health insurance costs for the hundreds of thousands who buy the individual Affordable Care Act policies.

...The bill is backed by Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and his administration says it would make two important changes to reduce premiums for the 400,000 people who purchase health insurance through the Healthcare.gov online marketplace.

Last night I wrote a long entry noting that Pennsylvania, which has a Democratic Governor but a Republican-controlled state legislature, is taking swift action today to pass a bill allowing PA to establish their own state-based ACA healthcare exchange:

Pennsylvania is moving to take over the online health insurance exchange that’s been operated by the federal government since 2014, saying it can cut health insurance costsfor the hundreds of thousands who buy the individual Affordable Care Act policies.

New legislation unveiled Tuesday has high-level support in Pennsylvania's House of Representatives, with the chamber's Republican and Democratic floor leaders as the bill's lead co-sponsors.

A House committee vote was scheduled for Wednesday, underscoring the urgency of the legislation.

The bill is backed by Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and his administration says it would make two important changes to reduce premiums for the 400,000 people who purchase health insurance through the Healthcare.gov online marketplace.

Until now there's only been one state which started out hosted by HealthCare.Gov which has gone on to break off onto their own platform: Idaho, which made the move with no drama back in 2014

In Idaho's case, this was always the plan from the start; they simply didn't have time to launch their own exchange before the 2014 Open Enrollment Period, so they bumped it back a year. Idaho is about to lose that unique status, however, in a big way.

Back in March, the House Democrats held a press event in which they officially rolled out the "Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Healthcare More Affordable Act", or #PPECMHMAA for short. That's a simply terrible title and an even worse hashtag, so I've simply shorthanded it as #ACA2.0.

The bill is actually a suite of a dozen smaller bills. Nearly all of them are sponsored purely by Democrats, which isn't surprising...but there's one exception:

This one came completely out of left field, but it's a pleasant surprise.

Last year, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, along with the Democratically-controlled state legislature, passed several sweeping laws and policies designed to either protect the ACA from sabogate efforts by the Trump Administration or to cancel out existing sabotage measures.

The laws passed included:

  • Establishing a robust reinsurance program to lower insurance premiums,
  • Reinstating the ACA's individual mandate penalty,
  • Canceling out Trump's expansion of Association Health Plans (Short-Term plans were already banned), and
  • Protecting enrollees from out-of-network "surprise plans" (this one didn't really have anything to do with the ACA itself, but is an important issue regardless)

In addition, Murphy issued an executive order directing state agencies to help protect/promote the ACA including:

Pages