As I've noted several times before, two more states have split off from the federal ACA health insurance exchange (HealthCare.Gov) this year. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have joined twelve other states (and DC) in operating their own full ACA enrollment platform.

In the case of Pennsylvania, they decided to call theirs "Pennie" (Pennsylvania Insurance Exchange), and judging by their first enrollment report, it looks like it's off to a great start:

Open Enrollment Early Highlights

via MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:

MNsure Open Enrollment Runs Through December 22

November 18, 2020


ST. PAUL, Minn.—Since the start of MNsure's open enrollment period on November 1, nearly 102,000 Minnesotans have signed up for 2021 private health insurance coverage – approximately 10% more than this time last year.

MNsure's open enrollment period runs until December 22, 2020, a week longer than the federal open enrollment period.

“Every Minnesotan should have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you've got comprehensive health coverage, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “You can sign up through MNsure.org through December 22 for coverage beginning January 1, 2021. Don’t delay. Contact a MNsure-certified assister who can walk you through the enrollment process.”

via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

Health Insurance Coverage is More Important Than Ever – In Person Help Still Available during New Statewide Restrictions

The 2021 open enrollment period is underway, and Washingtonians are now signing up for health plans, including in new Cascade Care health plans. After months of a global pandemic – needs have changed due to job loss, or working from home, or family income changes. Individuals seeking health coverage can now shop more options this year, along with financial assistance, by visiting Washington Healthplanfinder to sign up for health and dental coverage.

“With infection rates climbing and economic uncertainty across Washington state, now is the time to sign up for health coverage,” said Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan. “There are many resources available to help individuals understand their options.” 

If you visit several of the state-based ACA exchange websites right now, you might notice a pattern:

Connect for Health Colorado (blog entry):

Staying Focused

It’s still 2020, so it only seems appropriate that we all have a lot on our plates. Despite the Texas v. California court case causing some news as it went before the Supreme Court this week, we continue to stay focused on our current Open Enrollment Period.

It is of note this year that individuals making up to $51,040 per year or a household of four making up to $104,800 annually may be eligible for financial help to lower their monthly premiums, healthcare discounts, or both. Nearly three quarters of all Connect for Health Colorado enrollments are financially assisted.

And, since plans and prices change every year, you can point people to our Quick Cost and Plan Finder Tool to see their options.

The Washington ACA exchange has reported their initial numbers, and like Connecticut, the top figure is a bit misleading: 182,000 Washingtonians enrolled in the first four days!...except that, again, 99% of these are current exchange enrollees having their auto-renewals front-loaded:

Washington Healthplanfinder reminds Washingtonians that open enrollment has started, encouraging those seeking health coverage to visit WAhealthplanfinder.org to shop, choose, and save on health and dental coverage.

“Our focus remains on encouraging customers to review their options and sign up for coverage that meets their needs,” said Exchange Chief Executive Officer, Pam MacEwan. “The 2021 open enrollment period has begun, and residents should use this opportunity to access coverage that will last them all year.”

Every Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for for the past several years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) have issued a Weekly Snapshot Enrollment Report including the top-line Qualified Health Plan (QHP) enrollment data via HealthCare.Gov for that week along with the cumulative totals. They normally post these reports, which run Sunday - Saturday, on the following Wendesday...but yesterday came and went without one being released this year.

Given the insanity surrounding last week's Presidential election (along with the results) and the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, I was beginning to wonder whether they'd bother issuing those reports at all. Fortunately, they followed through late this afternoon:

Week 1, November 1-November 7, 2020

In week one of the 2021 Open Enrollment period, 818,365 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform. As in past years, enrollment weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday. 

This is kind of interesting. It looks like the Nevada Health Link (NV's state-based ACA exchange) is offering something new this year:

Nevada Health Link connects consumers to VSP Individual Vision Plans, in time for Open Enrollment 2021

Carson City, Nev. – The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange), the state agency that connects Nevadans to Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) through the online State Based Exchange (SBE), known as Nevada Health Link, announces a partnership with VSP® Individual Vision Plans, an offering of VSP Vision Care, the only national not-for-profit vision benefits company.

The Open Enrollment Period for 2021 insurance plans runs from Nov. 1, 2020 through Jan. 15, 2021. Health plans offered through Nevada Health Link are ideal for Nevadans who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid but still need financial assistance; those who don’t have employee-sponsored health insurance, including independent contractors and gig workers; and anyone seeking comprehensive, quality and affordable plans.

kynect logo

Way back in October 2013, when the first ACA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) launched, there were infamously massive technical problems with the federal exchange (HealthCare.Gov) as well as some of the state-based exchanges (such as those in Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Nevada and Hawaii).

Over the next few years, some of those exchange websites were replaced with brand-new ones (MA & MD). Some of the states scrapped theirs altogether and moved onto the mothership at HC.gov (OR, HI & NV, although Nevada has since split back off onto their own exchange again, and seems to have gotten it right this time).

The timing of this press release is a little odd; it came out on November 9th, even though the 2021 ACA Open Enrollment Period actually launched on November 1st. In fact, in California specifically, they've been allowing existing enrollees to actively renew/re-enroll for 2021 since October 1st!

Given the insanity of this year's Presidential election on November 3rd, along with the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, I can hardly blame CoveredCA for the delay, however; after all, this is the first Open Enrollment update I've posted since it kicked off on Nov. 1st as well...

Anyway, via the Covered California newsroom:

Covered California Officially Launches Open Enrollment with Millions of Masks to Encourage Californians to “Get Covered/Stay Covered” and a New Ad Campaign

There's a lot on everyone's plate at the moment. A global pandemic which has already killed over 230,000 Americans and infected 9 million more. The entire West Coast is on fire while the Gulf Coast is being hit with hurricanes. And there's some sort of election coming up on Tuesday, I hear.

Meanwhile, in just eleven days the Republican-controlled Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case brought by Republican plaintiffs (and sided with by a Republican Justice Department) over whether the Affordable Care Act should be struck down en masse because a Republican-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate decided to change the individual mandate penalty amount from $695 to $0.

However, there's one other important thing happening with the ACA in just two days: The 2021 ACA Open Enrollment Period begins on Sunday, November 1st.

As I do every year, here's a list of important things to remember when selecting a health insurance policy. Some of these are the same every year and apply nationwide; others are specific to the 2021 enrollment period and/or to particular states.