ST. PAUL, Minn.—Health insurance companies that partner with MNsure have given Minnesotans another reason to move to a MNsure plan. Most Minnesotans who purchased eligible individual or family coverage directly through BlueCross BlueShield MN, HealthPartners, Medica or Quartz can now purchase a plan from their current insurer through MNsure.org and in many cases without losing the dollars already paid toward their 2021 deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
Recent changes to the Affordable Care Act made through the American Rescue Plan mean more Minnesotans will pay less for their insurance. And for the first time ever, Minnesotans who bought their individual or family plan from one of MNsure's partnering health insurance companies can also take advantage of these new savings, but only if they move their coverage and enroll through MNsure. Enrollees should work with their insurance company to determine which plans qualify for a transfer of amounts paid toward their 2021 deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced commitments from national organizations to support Black American outreach and enrollment efforts during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) made available on HealthCare.gov by President Biden due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Black Americans represent roughly 13% of the U.S. population but 16% of the uninsured.
As part of the Black American Week of Action, April 25 – May 1, HHS and its partnership organizations will combine social media efforts to inform Black American consumers and spur enrollment in affordable, quality health plans through HealthCare.gov. An estimated 66% of Black uninsured adults now may have access to a zero-premium plan and 76% may be able to find a low-premium plan as a result of expanded coverage.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that to continue its efforts to increase access to enrollment assistance for consumers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make $80 million available in grants to Navigators in Federal Marketplaces for the 2022 plan year. The funding, which will be used for outreach and education efforts, is the largest allocation CMS has made available for Navigator grants to date and represents an eight fold increase in funding from the previous year. CMS invested $10 million annually in the Navigator program beginning with funding awarded in 2018 for the 2019 plan year. CMS awarded $36.2 million in 2017 for the 2018 plan year, down from a high of $63 million awarded in 2016 for the 2017 plan year.
Another quick Connecticut update...I've received the following Special Enrollment Period (SEP) QHP selection numbers for the past three years, and they're pretty telling:
SEP Enrollment for the 2/15 – 4/15 Timeframe:
2019 - 1,817
2020 - 4,250
2021 - 5,890
That averages out to:
2020: 70/day (2020 was a leap year)
2020 isn't really a good comparison year, since COVID had already started ravaging the U.S. by mid-March and Connecticut also launched a COVID SEP from March 18th - April 17th last year as well. The spring of 2019, however, didn't have anything special going on, so that's a perfect pre-COVID comparison year: The 2021 COVID SEP racked up 3.26x as many new enrollees as you'd typically expect to during the off-season for the same time period.
A week or so ago, Access Health CT's COVID Special Enrollment Period ended...but they also announced that they're re-launching a new SEP starting on May 1st anyway. This amounts to them taking a 2-week pause to reprogram/retool their website to take advantage of the expanded ACA subsidies under the American Rescue Plan.
At the time, they were only allowing current exchange enrollees to switch plans mid-year via a cumbersome process of calling into the exchange directly. Today it sounds like that's been changed:
Final Deadline for 2021 Health Insurance is April 30
Last Chance for Idahoans to Receive Enhanced Subsidies
BOISE, Idaho – Your Health Idaho, the state health insurance exchange, announced the final day to enroll in 2021 health insurance, without a Qualifying Life Event, is April 30.
“This is the last chance for Idahoans to take advantage of the increased tax credits and enroll in 2021 coverage,” said Pat Kelly, Your Health Idaho Executive Director. “These savings can be significant for Idaho families who may have thought health insurance was out of reach prior to the American Rescue Plan Act.”
I've confirmed that unlike other state exchanges which have bumped out their deadlines repeatedly, Your Health Idaho explicitly does not intend on extending this deadline out again: April 30th is the final deadline.
After extending the special enrollment period deadline from March 31, exchange officials are urging Idahoans to apply for savings from a health insurance tax credit and make their final plan selection by 11:59 p.m. (MT) on Friday, April 30.
The Urban Institute has come out with a brand-new analysis which projects the impact of making the ACA subsidies which have been expanded & enhanced temporarily under the American Rescue Plan permanent. In other words, this is what they expect the real-world impact would be if Congress were to finally #KillTheCliff and #UpTheSubs permanently (as opposed to for just 2021 - 2022), as I and other healthcare activists been pushing for for years now.
A couple of weeks ago, I used the COVID Special Enrollment Period (SEP) data I had for HealthCare.Gov through the end of March, combined with limited SEP data from some state-based ACA exchanges, to extrapolate out a rough estimate of how many new Qualified Health Plan (QHP) selections may have happened since the new "Spring 2021 Special Enrollment Period" was launched on February 15th, 2021.
At the time, I estimated that perhaps 15,800 people per day on average had newly enrolled in ACA exchange policies as of the end of March, or roughly 710,000 nationally. This included the 528,000 confirmed enrollees via HealthCare.Gov, plus another 183,000 or so via the 15 state-based exchanges.
Savings to the Rescue – Pennie is Now Open with Increased Savings
Pennie Customers Can Now See Savings When Shopping for Health Coverage
Uninsured Pennsylvanians will be able to receive significant savings in health coverage as a result of the American Rescue Plan
Harrisburg, PA – April 16 – As a result of the recent American Rescue Plan, also known as the COVID-19 relief package, provisions specific to the Affordable Care Act have impacted the way health insurance is available in Pennsylvania. These provisions include significant impacts, including an increase in savings, for Pennsylvanians seeking individual market coverage and those already enrolled through Pennie, as well as those who may lose their employment and rely on COBRA to maintain their employer coverage. Pennie is excited to announce that these savings are now available at pennie.com for those looking to enroll in quality, affordable coverage.