ARP

Get Covered 2021!

As of midnight on August 15th, the Big Deadline for the 2021 "No Excuse Needed" ACA Special Enrollment Period has come and gone in most states.

HOWEVER, you can still #GetCovered for the rest of 2021 in a few states (including two of the largest ones), and there are still millions of uninsured Americans nationally who are eligible for ACA-compliant coverage for the rest of this year via other options. Let's review!

2021 ACA Special Enrollment Period (SEP): If you live in California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York or Vermont, the deadline for the "no questions asked" SEP goes beyond 8/15. In CA, DC & NY it actually runs through the end of the year!

HealthCare.Gov Logo

 

I've received an important reminder from the folks at HealthCare.Gov:

Continued Enrollment Opportunity for Consumers with Unemployment Compensation

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides additional savings to help consumers access affordable, quality health coverage options, including expanded opportunities for those who received or are approved to receive unemployment compensation in 2021.

Starting July 1, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) added a new function to HealthCare.gov to allow consumers who receive or are approved to receive unemployment compensation for any week beginning during 2021 to access new savings on health insurance coverage, if they qualify.

New York State of Health

via NY State of Health:

NY State of Health Enrollment Continues to Surge as More New Yorkers Sign Up for Low-Cost Coverage Following the American Rescue Plan and Enhancements Made to New York’s Essential Plan

MNsure Logo

via MNsure:

Federal COBRA Subsidies are Ending This Month, but Minnesotans Have Affordable Health Coverage Options Through MNsure

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The federal subsidy for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, expires on September 30. The subsidy, part of the American Rescue Plan stimulus package, has helped unemployed Minnesotans who chose to continue with their workplace health insurance plan stay covered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Minnesotans who are losing this COBRA subsidy and are looking to keep their health care costs low should visit MNsure.org today to check out their health coverage options and see how much they can save,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “Avoiding a gap in health coverage is more important than ever, so don’t wait.”

HHS Dept.

A little over a month ago, I made the following projection:

So, what does this mean for the final SEP push (again, it runs through 8/15 in most states)?

Well, it's hard to say, but I'd imagine it'll be a bit higher than the last week of July. That would mean something like ~220,000 more QHP selections via HC.gov states, and perhaps another 85,000 or so via the state-based exchanges (assuming they still make up roughly 28% of the national total). If so, that would put the final 8/15 tally at around 2.86 million new enrollees during the 2021 COVID SEP nationally (~2.05 million via HC.gov, ~808K via the SBMs).

Moments ago, via the HHS Dept (oddly, not via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), which usually publishes these enrollment reports):

Covered California Logo

via Covered California:

  • An estimated 138,000 Californians face significantly higher health insurance premiums when their federal COBRA subsidies come to an end on Sept. 30.
  • Covered California opened a special-enrollment period to give eligible COBRA recipients an opportunity to switch their coverage and potentially save hundreds of dollars a month on their health insurance.
  • Many of those consumers will be able to stay with their same brand-name insurance company when they switch to Covered California.
  • People who sign up by Sept. 30 will have their coverage start on Oct. 1.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced a special-enrollment period for Californians who will soon be losing the federal financial help that is allowing them to continue receiving health insurance through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, better known as COBRA. Under one provision of the American Rescue Plan, Californians have been eligible for financial help that pays 100 percent of their COBRA premiums from April 1 through Sept. 30.

Washington HealthPlan Finder

A couple of years ago, Washington became the first state to implement their own "Public Option" ACA healthcare plan...sort of. The actual version of the PO which was implemented ended up being considerably less impressive than the original vision, but hey, it was a start.

However, the same legislation which created the "Cascade Care" program also included another provision which was noteworthy at the time:

Washington HealthPlan Finder

This just in from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange...

Record Numbers of Washingtonians Sign Up for Health Care Coverage During 2021 Special Enrollment Period

  • LATEST DATA SHOWS IMPACT OF AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT SAVINGS. NEARLY HALF OF ALL CUSTOMERS PAY LESS THAN $100 PER MONTH.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) announced on Tuesday more than 57,000 Washingtonians signed up for health care coverage between February 15 and August 15 on the state’s insurance marketplace, Washington Healthplanfinder. The Exchange opened a Special Enrollment Period in February in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. This allowed any individual in Washington the opportunity to apply for coverage or compare and upgrade their existing insurance.

Nevada Health Link Logo

Via Nevada Health Link:

17,000 Nevadans Saved on Health Insurance Plans Through Nevada Health Link

  • The online insurance marketplace increased total enrollments by 7.6% during American Rescue Plan Enrollment Period

CARSON CITY, Nev. (Aug. 23, 2021) – Nevada Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace operated by the state agency, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange), announced that more than 17,000 Nevadans took advantage of premium savings during an Open Enrollment Period (OEP) created by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA or American Rescue Plan).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to ensure more Americans are covered by health insurance, The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law on March 11 of this year, allowing uninsured Nevadans additional opportunities to enroll in health insurance benefits along with significant savings. Customers who were already enrolled also had the opportunity to take advantage of increased subsidies through the Nevada Health Link marketplace.

CMS Logo

via Amy Lotven of Inside Health Policy:

CMS tells Inside Health Policy that it will be releasing a final report on its COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period in September and points out that consumers who submitted their applications by the Aug. 15 SEP deadline still have 30 days to select a plan. Additionally, staffers are contacting the “very small group” of consumers who reached out to the Marketplace Call Center just before the deadline but were unable to get through to a representative so that those individuals have a chance to enroll, the agency confirms.

The final report was obvious, since the 2021 "No Excuses Needed" SEP still ran through August 15th in most states (and is still ongoing in a few), but I figured they'd come out with it in late August, not September.

I admit that I didn't know (or had forgotten?) about those who submitted their apps prior to 8/15 still having a full month to select a plan. Granted, if they wait until mid-September their coverage won't start until October, giving them just 3 months to use up a full 12-month deductible, but still.

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