Covered California Logo

I don't write about standalone dental insurance plan coverage very often (and honestly, neither does HealthCare.Gov or the state-based ACA exchanges), but it's obviously pretty important.

Today, Covered California made a rare announcement about dental plans:

Covered California Announces Premium Decrease for Dental Plans in 2022

Medicaid Expansion map

From about six weeks ago:

KFF estimate that as of today, nearly 2.2 million Americans currently fall into the "Medicaid Gap" in the 12 states which haven't expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act yet...

They also estimate that another 1.8 million uninsured Americans who are eligible for subsidized ACA exchange plans who would be eligible for Medicaid instead if those state actually did expand Medicaid (and perhaps another 100K in Missouri). That's nearly 4.0 million total...

So, how to crack this nut in these holdout states, all of which are either completely or partially controlled by Republicans who have adamantly refused to expand the program no matter what all these years?

Well, there's several options:

NBC Logo

Back on July 1st I noted that a national Yahoo/YouGov survey concluded the obvious:

However, the biggest factors by far in this survey are Party Identification and Who you voted for in 2020:

  • 30% of Republicans still refuse to #GetVaxxed, as well as 21% of Independents...vs. only 5% of Democrats
  • 32% of Trump voters still refuse to #GetVaxxed...vs. just 3% of Biden voters

Joe Biden received ~81.3 million votes last fall. Donald Trump received 74.2 million.

That means, assuming this poll is relatively accurate and representative, there's around 2.44 million Biden voters who are apparently unreachable...but 23.75 million Trump voters who fall into that category. The other ~13 million refuseniks presumably voted 3rd party or didn't vote at all.


As I've noted repeatedly, I'm way behind on my annual rate change project; Colorado's Insurance Division announced preliminary 2022 rate filings about a month ago:

Preliminary Information Shows Even Greater Savings in 2022: 24.1% Savings from Bipartisan Reinsurance Program 

DENVER - Governor Polis and the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), released preliminary information about the health insurance plans and premiums for 2022, for the individual market (meaning health insurance plans for people who don’t get their insurance from an employer) and the small group market (for small businesses with 2-100 employees).

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.

MA Health Connector

Last week I noted that MNsure, Minnesota's state-based ACA exchange, announced that while the general, open-ended 2021 Special Enrollment Period had ended back in mid-July, they're still letting any Minnesotan who received unemployment benefits at any point in 2021 the opportunity to enroll in ACA healthcare coverage & take advantage of the American Rescue Plan's Unemployment Benefit.

The key point is that Minnesotans can still do so even if they received UI benefits prior to the July 15th SEP deadline. This means that if you were on unemployment back in, say, January or February, and you still need healthcare coverage for the remainder of 2021, you can still visit and get coverage for the last 4 months of this year for $0 in premiums and with mostly nominal deductibles/co-pays (assuming you aren't eligible for employer-based coverage, Medicaid, etc. instead).

COVID-19 Vaccine

Exactly a month ago I posted an in-depth analysis in which I broke out all 3,114 counties, parishes, boroughs & census areas throughout the 50 United States (+DC) into a 3x3 grid as follows:

  • Blue Counties: Low-Vaxx
  • Blue Counties: Moderate-Vaxx
  • Blue Counties: High-Vaxx
  • Swing Counties: Low-Vaxx
  • Swing Counties: Moderate-Vaxx
  • Swing Counties: High-Vaxx
  • Red Counties: Low-Vaxx
  • Red Counties: Moderate-Vaxx
  • Red Counties: High-Vaxx.

...or, put more visually:

At the time I was mostly interested in looking at the outlier counties--the poorly-vaccinated solidly blue counties and the highly-vaccinated solid red counties.

I also noted that, to no great surprise, the makeup of those 146 "Blue Low-Vaxx" counties is pretty telling:

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.

New Jersey

via the New Jersey Dept. of Banking & Insurance:

NJ DOBI Announces Grant Opportunity for Navigators to Assist New Jerseyans With Health Insurance Enrollment

  • Open Enrollment Period at Get Covered New Jersey Begins November 1, 2021

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance today announced it is now accepting applications for community organizations to serve as Navigators to assist residents with health insurance enrollment for the upcoming Open Enrollment Period and during 2022. The department is making available a total of $4 million in grant funding for Navigators, in an effort to ensure enrollment assistance is available in the community for residents seeking coverage through Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, during the Open Enrollment Period that starts November 1, 2021 and through the year.


via the Arkansas Insurance Dept:

Health Insurance Rate Changes for 2022

Insurance companies offering individual and small group health insurance plans are required to file proposed rates with the Arkansas Insurance Department for review and approval before plans can be sold to consumers.

The Department reviews rates to ensure that the plans are priced appropriately. Under Arkansas Law (Ark. Code Ann. § 23-79-110), the Commissioner shall disapprove a rate filing if he/she finds that the rate is not actuarially sound, is excessive, is inadequate, or is unfairly discriminatory.

The Department relies on outside actuarial analysis by a member of the American Academy of Actuaries to help determine whether a rate filing is sound.

Below, you can review information on the proposed rate filings for Plan Year 2022 individual and small group products that comply with the reforms of the Affordable Care Act.