Every year, the Minnesota Department of Commerce conducts a thorough review of the rates and plans proposed by health insurance companies in the individual and small group markets. Commerce must approve the rates before the companies can offer them to consumers. Under state law, rates for the following calendar year must be released 30 days prior to the beginning of open enrollment.
Individual health plans are designed for Minnesotans who buy their own coverage rather than receiving it through employer-based insurance or public programs such as Medicare, Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. Small group health plans are designed for employers with two to 50 workers.
Commerce may deny proposed rates or require insurers to raise or lower them if the department determines that they are excessive or inadequate for the benefits offered.
Minnesotans Will Save $560/month, On Average, On 2023 Coverage with Tax Credits Through MNsure
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Starting November 1, Minnesotans looking for health coverage for 2023 can shop and compare plans and save money through MNsure, Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace. Now that final rates are available from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, MNsure has new estimates for how much Minnesotans will actually pay for health premiums in 2023—and it’s about 3.5% less than 2022. Eligible Minnesotans are poised to save big on their monthly premiums by taking advantage of tax credits only available through MNsure.
“MNsure projects Minnesota families will save $560 per month, on average, when they enroll in 2023 coverage through MNsure,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “When they buy coverage through MNsure, Minnesotans will have a range of comprehensive health plans to choose from and access to enhanced tax credits that aren’t available anywhere else.”
via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), by email:
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the latest enrollment figures for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These programs serve as key connectors to care for more millions of Americans.
As of June 2022, 64,682,105 people are enrolled in Medicare. This is an increase of 128,817 since the last report.
34,930,433 are enrolled in Original Medicare.
29,751,672 are enrolled in Medicare Advantage or other health plans. This includes enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans with and without prescription drug coverage.
50,185,416 are enrolled in Medicare Part D. This includes enrollment in stand-alone prescription drug plans as well as Medicare Advantage plans that offer prescription drug coverage.
Over 12 million individuals are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, so are counted in the enrollment figures for both programs.
Initiatives will ensure children in Oregon have continuous Medicaid coverage until the age of six, and expand access to coverage and address nutrition and housing needs in Massachusetts and Oregon
Approvals of the initiatives come during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, taking direct action on the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy to end hunger, reduce diet-related diseases, and eliminate health inequities
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), approved groundbreaking Medicaid section 1115 demonstration initiatives in Massachusetts and Oregon. Both demonstrations aim to test improvements in coverage, access, and quality with innovative approaches to ensure more eligible people retain their Medicaid coverage, including by approving Oregon’s demonstration to keep children enrolled in Medicaid up to age six — preventing gaps in coverage that can cause children to lose access to needed care in their formative early years.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today additional resources and flexibilities available in response to Hurricane Fiona in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. CMS is working closely with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to put these flexibilities in place to ensure those affected by this natural disaster have access to the care they need – when they need it most.
On September 18, 2022, President Biden determined that an Emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico due to the emergency conditions resulting from the then Tropical Storm Fiona beginning on September 17, 2022, and continuing. Additionally, on September 20, 2022, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra determined that a Public Health Emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and has existed since September 17, 2022.
CMS stands ready to assist with resources and waivers to ensure hospitals and other facilities can continue to operate and provide access to care to those impacted by the consequences of the hurricane.
TRENTON —The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance today announced that it has determined that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s application to reorganize its corporate structure as a nonprofit mutual holding company is complete. The application is available at: nj.gov/hschearings/ along with information on how to register to attend upcoming public hearings.
The department will hold three public hearings on the plan to form a mutual holding company as required by statute (P.L. 2020 c. 145).
“As part of the public hearing process, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey will present an overview of their plan to reorganize as a mutual holding company,” said Commissioner Marlene Caride. “The public will have multiple opportunities to share comments on the application and plan through one in-person hearing, two virtual sessions as well as the submission of written comments.”
Arizona Announces Extension of Major Medical Transitional Policies Until Further Notice
Phoenix - The Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI) announced that insurers in the individual and small group major medical health insurance markets can choose to renew "transitional policies" for a policy year beginning after October 1, 2022, and thereafter until CMS modifies its non-enforcement policy. Transitional policies are policies that individuals had in place before the Affordable Care Act went into full effect on January 1, 2014.
This extension aligns with the extension announced by the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) in Insurance Standards Bulletin Series – INFORMATION – Extension of Limited Non-Enforcement Policy through 2023 and Later Benefit Years. The Bulletin gives insurers the option to annually renew applicable pre-2014 individual and small group policies until further notice. Approximately 30,000 Arizonans have health insurance coverage through a transitional plan.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), approved the extension of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in North Carolina. As a result, up to an additional 28,000 people will now be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a full year after pregnancy in North Carolina. With today’s approval, in combination with previously approved state extensions, an estimated 361,000 Americans annually in 24 states and D.C. are eligible for 12 months of postpartum coverage. If all states adopted this option, as many as 720,000 people across the United States would be guaranteed Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — When Minnesota’s open enrollment period starts November 1, Minnesotans who need health insurance can find walk-in assistance from a broker at 18 locations, known as broker enrollment centers. Thanks to new partnerships between MNsure and competitively selected insurance agencies, this expert help is provided free of cost to Minnesotans.
Finding the right health insurance can feel complex and overwhelming, especially for first-time applicants. Taking advantage of free, personalized help from a health insurance expert can make the enrollment process easier and less time-consuming than trying to go it alone, whether applying for the first time, changing plans, or renewing coverage.
Last night President Biden raised a lot of eyebrows during a 60 Minutes segment in which he was being interviewed while walking through the Detroit Auto Show:
Scott Pelley: "Mr. President...first Auto Show in three years...is the pandemic over?"
President Biden: "The pandemic is over...we still have a problem with COVID...we're still doing a lot of work on it...but the pandemic is over...If you notice, no one's wearing masks; everyone seems to be in pretty good shape...and so I think it's changing, and I think this is a perfect example of it."
Then, today, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, who I had hoped would try to walk back and/or clarify the President's statement, instead doubled down on it:
U.S. Health Sec. Xavier Becerra supported a surprise comment over the weekend from President Joe Biden, who declared the pandemic over.
"The president is correct," Becerra told Yahoo Finance Monday.
Maryland Insurance Administration Approves 2023 Affordable Care Act Premium Rates
Reinsurance Program Continues Positive Impact on Individual Rates, Keeping Rate Increases Below Inflation
BALTIMORE – State Insurance Commissioner Kathleen A. Birrane today announced the premium rates approved by the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) for individual and small group health insurance plans to be offered in the state for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2023.
The rates for individual health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will change/increase by an average of 6.6% this year. The approved rates are 4.4% lower on average than insurance carriers originally requested – a difference of more than $50 million in total annual premium savings for Maryland consumers.
It's been five months since my last attempt to estimate a grim but vitally important number: Just how many Trump voters vs. Biden voters have become fatal victims of the GOP/FOX News coordinated anti-vaxx/anti-mask campaign to date, and what sort of impact might this end up having on the midterm elections this November?
As I said at the time, I'm not going to attempt to justify this cynical bean counting anymore...the evidence is now overwhelming that Republican leadership, in coordination with outlets like FOX News and other right-wing outlets, made a conscious decision in spring 2021 to push hard against Americans getting vaccinated against COVID-19 for purely cynical political math reasons.
And yes, that's literally how the headline is worded in the official press release (via email, no link yet):
Statement by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on House Republicans Introducing Legislation to Rip Away Women’s Access to Contraception and Abortion Medication
Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra released the following statement on House Republicans introducing legislation to deny women essential medications:
“Denying women the care they need is un-American—in fact, it’s dangerous. That sums up the latest move in Congress to try to take away women’s access to prescription medication for reproductive health. Under federal law, patients have the right to access the health care they need, free of discrimination. The Biden-Harris Administration will vigorously advance and protect women's rights to essential health care. We won’t hesitate to enforce the law.”
Below is a summary of the actions HHS has taken to ensure access to reproductive health care following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision:
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced approval of the Oregon Health Authority’s proposal to cover community-based mobile crisis intervention services in Medicaid. Made possible by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the new first-in-the-nation Medicaid State plan amendment will allow Oregon to provide community-based stabilization services to individuals experiencing mental health and/or substance use crises throughout the state by connecting them to a behavioral health specialist 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
(LANSING, MICH) State of Michigan health leaders are advising Michiganders that a Texas federal judge’s decision in Braidwood Management Inc. v. Xavier Becerra does not currently change the preventive care to which they are entitled under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Though the Braidwood ruling does not take immediate effect, and proceedings are ongoing, this case could ultimately have long-term impacts on the ACA and the health of Americans nationwide.
Back in May, Washington State was among the first to post their preliminary 2023 avg. individual market rate changes. At the time, there were 14 insurance carriers potentially offering 2023 plans, with a weighted average rate increase of around 7.2%.
Today, the Washington State insurance commissioner has posted a press release with final/approved 2023 premium rate changes, and the weighted average is actually a point higher (8.2%).
There's a caveat: Only 12 of the 14 carriers participating in the WA individual market are included; the other two, which are selling ACA plans off-exchange only, are still under review. However, those two carriers only make up around 0.6% of the total market, so that doesn't impact the overall average by more than a negligible amount.
State regulators have reduced the 2023 rates a bit from the original requests for some carriers (Bridgespan, Coordinated Care, Regence) but have increased them for others (Kaiser Foundation, LifeWise, Molina, Premera). A couple were kept pretty much identical to what the carriers had requested:
I spent over a year posting weekly updates to my vaccination-rate-by-partisan-lean graph. I then moved to monthly updates as I was backed up with other work, and my last one was back in July.
This will be my final update of this graph for four reasons:
First: I've more than made my point. There's really not much more to be said about the absurd & disturbing partisanship of COVID-19 vaccination rates that hasn't already been discussed ad nauseum here and elsewhere.
Second: The 1st- & 2nd-dose vaccination rates have slowed to a trickle across the nation overall anyway; by my count, only around 1.2 million Americans have completed their 2nd vaccination dose since mid July. That's only around 22,000 per day nationally.
Third, we're now 2 1/2 years out from the official 2020 Census population data, which means the denominator I've been dividing into for all of this data is now pretty out of date.
And fourth, the addition of 3rd & 4th shots (boosters as they're called), along with the just-approved Omicron-specific vaccine doses, have muddied the data waters pretty badly in a lot of parts of the country, with doses being miscategorized in databases, etc.
Having said that, here's my methodology reminders:
I go by county residents who have received the 2nd COVID-19 shot only (or 1st in the case of the J&J vaccine).
I base my percentages on the total population via the 2020 U.S. Census including all ages (i.e., it includes kids under 12).
For most states + DC I use the daily data from the Centers for Disease Control, but there are some where the CDC is either missing county-level data entirely or where the CDC data is less than 90% complete at the county level. Therefore:
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), approved the extension of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in Indiana and West Virginia. As a result, up to an additional 15,000 people annually – including 12,000 in Indiana and 3,000 in West Virginia – will now be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a full year after pregnancy. With today’s approval, in combination with previously approved state extensions, an estimated 333,000 Americans annually in 23 states and D.C. are eligible for 12 months of postpartum coverage. If all states adopted this option, as many as 720,000 people across the United States annually would be guaranteed Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.
Insurance Brokers and Enrollment Assisters Available across Colorado
DENVER— One way the state’s health insurance Marketplace serves Colorado’s health coverage needs is by providing a diverse network of experts who can help residents enroll in the best plan for them – and who can help for free any time of the year.
These experts are Connect for Health Colorado-certified Insurance Brokers and Enrollment Assisters, and they live and work everywhere across the state.
“Our certified experts are a valuable source of support for Coloradans,” said Connect for Health Colorado’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Patterson. “But they don’t just provide enrollment services; they offer a continuum of assistance. I encourage anyone who needs health insurance help to use a Connect for Health Colorado Assistance Site. We’re here to help you navigate anything that changes your situation, so that you can stay covered.”
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Today, MNsure, Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace, announced over $4.2 million in grant awards to 22 organizations to support increased outreach and enrollment help in communities across the state. All 22 organizations employ MNsure-certified “navigators” — local experts who offer free application and enrollment assistance to Minnesotans who need health insurance.
Navigators provide crucial support for consumers by answering questions and guiding them through the application and enrollment process from start to finish, completely free of cost. Working with a navigator can reduce barriers to getting or maintaining health coverage such as a lack of comfort using technology, unreliable internet access, limited English proficiency, or unfamiliarity with health insurance terms.
FTC action against Benefytt results in refunds for consumers who bought insufficient plansOlympia, WA
Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) is opening a special enrollment period until Nov. 10, 2022, for 232 Washingtonians who were sold an insufficient healthcare plan from Benefytt Technologies.
Benefytt must contact customers who are currently paying for Benefytt’s plans, inform them of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) complaint against the company, and allow them to cancel their enrollment. Benefytt also must provide refunds for payments made after the order is entered directly to customers who cancel right away.
Idahoans to see 12-percent lower health insurance costs with approval of key “Leading Idaho” waiver
Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little announced today the State of Idaho achieved a key milestone of the “Leading Idaho” plan – approval of the state’s innovation waiver, ensuring accessible health insurance for more Idahoans.
“Idahoans benefited from another win from our ‘Leading Idaho’ plan today. The approval of the state’s innovation waiver is estimated to reduce insurance premiums for individuals by about 12-percent, keeping more Idahoans insured and providing them better access to affordable healthcare,” Governor Little said.
Maine Health Insurers File Proposed Rates for 2023 Plan Year
Health insurance carriers in Maine's Individual and Small Group markets have filed proposed rates with the Maine Bureau of Insurance (the Bureau) for the 2023 plan year. June 27, 2022 was the deadline for the initial filing of plans and rates, but insurers may revise their filings through July 20, 2022.
Back in July, Covered California posted the preliminary 2023 rate changes for ACA individual market healthcare policies. Overall, the weighted average rate hike was around 6.0% across the entire statewide market.
Yesterday, CoveredCA announced that thanks to the Inflation Reducation Act being signed into law by President Biden...
...@CoveredCA is announcing a reduction in its 2023 average rate change from 6% to 5.6%. The 0.4% decrease is due to the Inflation Reduction Act ensuring increased financial help for next year. Renewal begins Oct. 1 and #OpenEnrollment starts Nov. 1 for #ACA coverage.
Unfortunately they haven't posted the rate changes for each individual insurance carrier yet, but assuming it's fairly even across all of them, the premium savings should amount to something like:
This has been a long time coming...via the HHS Dept. (by email, no link yet):
New Rule Makes Clear that Noncitizens Who Receive Health or Other Benefits to which they are Entitled Will Not Suffer Harmful Immigration Consequences
Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule applicable to noncitizens who receive or wish to apply for benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and States that support low-income families and adults. The rule, which details how DHS will interpret the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility, will help ensure that noncitizens can access health-related benefits and other supplemental government services to which they are entitled by law, without triggering harmful immigration consequences. By codifying in regulation the “totality of the circumstances” approach that is authorized by statute and which has long been utilized by DHS, the rule makes it clear that individual factors, such as a person’s disability or use of benefits alone will not lead to a public charge determination.
CONNECTICUT INSURANCE COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCES 2023 HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUM RATES, SAVING ACA PLAN MEMBERS $138.4 MILLION
As Health Care Costs Continue to Rise, Insurance Department Protects Consumers Against Unjustified Rate Increases by Holding Insurers to Historically Low Profit Margins
Connecticut Insurance Department (CID) Commissioner Andrew N. Mais announced today that the Department continues to protect consumers by significantly reducing health insurers’ 2023 requested rates, despite ongoing increases in underlying health care costs.