There's been a LOT of buzz among healthcare wonks over the past week about major developments happening with the ACA's Basic Health Plan (BHP) programs in both Minnesota and New York State. This article is about Minnesota; I'll post about what's happening in New York separately.

As Louise Norris explains:

Under the ACA, most states have expanded Medicaid to people with income up to 138 percent of the poverty level. But people with incomes very close to the Medicaid eligibility cutoff frequently experience changes in income that result in switching from Medicaid to ACA’s qualified health plans (QHPs) and back. This “churning” creates fluctuating healthcare costs and premiums, and increased administrative work for the insureds, the QHP carriers and Medicaid programs.

The out-of-pocket differences between Medicaid and QHPs are significant, even for people with incomes just above the Medicaid eligibility threshold who qualify for cost-sharing subsidies.

NOTE: With the news that the Johns Hopkins University COVID Tracking project is shutting down on March 10th, this may be the second to last update to this project, although there are other outlets tracking county-level COVID deaths which will likely continue to do so.

As of this writing, 69.2% of the total U.S. population has completed their primary COVID-19 vaccination series (including 94.2% of those 65+), but a mere 15.8% of the total population has also gotten their updated bivalent booster shotEven among seniors it's only at 40.8% nationally.

BeWellNM Logo

via beWell NM, New Mexico's ACA exchange:

A classic tax-season scam is back with a new twist. Clients in New Mexico have reported receiving calls from scammers posing as beWellnm representatives, trying to obtain private and secure information.

BeWellnm, New Mexico’s health insurance exchange, will never call and ask a customer to text or email your bank information, credit card or social security number.

“Customers who received insurance through the exchange will need a 1095-A form – Health Insurance Marketplace Statement – for their taxes. Scammers know this and think they can take advantage, but we are here to protect consumers and offer them free help with their 1095-A form,” said Bruce Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer of beWellnm.

BeWellnm will be providing customers who obtained insurance through the exchange at any point last year with their 1095-A form. You should expect to see if in the mail in the coming weeks. This form is very important and will be filed with your federal taxes to complete Form 8962: Premium Tax Credit.

Over at Inside Health Policy, Amy Lotven has put together a fantastic roundup of all the stuff going on (or coming up) this year for ACA exchanges and enrollees. I've summarized the key points here, but read the full piece over there if you can (paywalled):

The Medicaid unwinding

The end of the maintenance of effort requirement will be the most significant event for exchange stakeholders in 2023, according to various sources who work closely with health insurance exchanges across the country.

...Estimates of how many people could lose Medicaid benefits and have access to other coverage range from about 15 million to 18 million, and of those about 2.5 million could be eligible for exchange coverage according to recent analyses by HHS and the Urban Institute.

BeWellNM Logo

A couple of weeks ago, New Mexico's state-based ACA exchange, BeWell NM, reported that they had closed out the 2023 ACA Open Enrollment Period with a total of 49,689 Qualified Health Plan (QHP) selections:


This section contains enrollment data through January 15, 2022.

1. Total Plan Selections (net): Count of unique individuals who have selected a Plan Year (PY) 2023 Marketplace medical plan. Count includes all new and re-enrolling consumers (defined in Indicators 2 and 3), regardless of whether the consumer has paid the first month premium. Count does not include plans that were canceled or terminated.: 40,689

Psychedelic Donuts

Note: Yes, I'm aware that the upcoming "unwinding" of Medicaid via the end of the Public Health Emergency provisions is about to blow this entire project up, but that's kind of the point, to see where things stand as of this moment.

Nearly 7 years ago, I compiled the best breakout I could estimate of the healthcare coverage status of the entire U.S. population, in a post (and graphic) which gained quite a bit of praise. It even (to my surprise) ended up as a finalist in the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Digital Media Awards in 2017.

Seven years, two administrations, one federal insurrection and one global pandemic later, I figured it was time to finally update the breakout of what I've since decided to refer to as the Psychedelic Donut.

Pennie Logo

via Pennie, Pennsylvania's state-based ACA exchange:

This Tax Season, PA takes the Path to Pennie™ for Quality, Accessible Health Coverage

This tax season, uninsured Pennsylvanians can enroll in quality, low-cost health coverage through Path to Pennie™. The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and Pennie have teamed up to allow uninsured tax filers the ability to get covered outside of Open Enrollment. When completing their Pennsylvania state income tax return, individuals can indicate interest in getting covered through Pennie.

Uninsured Pennsylvanians will be able to indicate they are without health insurance through an optional tax form called, REV-1882 ‘Health Insurance Coverage Information Request.’ This form creates a simple and straightforward way for Pennsylvanians to specify that they, their spouse, and/or their dependents do not have health coverage and are interested in learning more about the services provided by Pennie.

I'll write more about President Biden's future healthcare agenda wish list after this evening's State of the Union address (let's face it, not much of it will be accomplished given that the GOP has retaken control of the House of Representatives), but in the meantime here's a nice summary of the major healthcare-related accomplishments of his administration so far, via the White House website:

Lowering Health Care Costs for Families

Covered California Logo

via Covered California:

Covered California Provides New Opportunities for People to Sign Up for Health Insurance Through Special Enrollment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California is reminding Californians that they still have an opportunity to sign up for quality health insurance and get financial help to lower the cost of their monthly premiums even though open enrollment ended on Jan. 31. Every year, Covered California allows people who have experienced a significant life event to sign up for coverage during special enrollment.

“Californians can still protect themselves and their families with quality health insurance for the rest of the year, if they have had a major change in their lives,” said Jessica Altman, executive director of Covered California. “If you have recently lost your coverage, gotten married, had a baby, or have been affected by California’s winter storms, visit CoveredCA.com to check out what plans are available to you.”

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via the Colorado Dept. of Regulatory Agencies:

Consumer Advisory: Former Individual Market Bright Health & Oscar Health Enrollees Have Until March 1 to Choose New Coverage 

  • Special Enrollment Period allows them to still get insurance for 2023. 

DENVER - People who had individual health insurance plans (insurance not from an employer) from Bright Health and Oscar Health in 2022 are reminded that they have until the end of February to choose a health plan from another company for 2023 insurance. 

Even though the regular open enrollment for individual health insurance plans concluded on January 15, consumers who had their Bright or Oscar coverage finish at the end of December are allowed a 60-day special enrollment period (SEP) because those companies did not offer plans for 2023. This 60-day SEP started on January 1 and will continue until March 1, 2023.