District of Columbia

This just in via DC Health Link:

DC Residents Urged to Take Advantage of $36 Million in Lower Health Insurance Premiums Provided Through the American Rescue Plan

This is from a couple of weeks ago, but I'm reposting it standalone for clarity. Via DC Health Link:

Premium Drop for DC Health Link Coverage Thanks to the American Rescue Plan

  • $36 million in yearly insurance premium savings for DC residents with DC Health Link coverage; coverage available for as little as $2/month for laid-off residents; 100% of COBRA premium paid for laid-off workers 

Washington, DC – Today, the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority announced major savings for residents in the District of Columbia who purchase private health insurance through DC Health Link, the District’s state-based online health insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now signed into law by President Biden, the American Rescue Plan reduces premiums for health insurance through DC Health Link, provides health insurance for as little as $2/month to people who lost their jobs, and pays for 100% of COBRA for laid-off workers. We estimate that residents will save about $36 million in premiums.

DC Health Link, the District of Columbia's ACA exchange, has released a new 2021 Open Enrollment report, and while the numbers aren't surprising, they're also a bit fuzzy for a couple of reasons.

Officially, the new report states that 19,997 DC residents selected an individual market ACA exchange plan, up just 65 people over last year's 19,932 (+0.3%). However, there's several factors which make this a bit misleading:

This just in from the DC Health Link...

DC Residents Without Health Insurance Can Get Covered Now Through DC Health Link

Annual Open Enrollment is over, but DC Health Link’s COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period continues through the duration of DC’s public health emergency

(Washington, DC­­) – Uninsured District of Columbia residents have more time to enroll in health coverage for 2021. From now through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents can enroll using DC Health Link’s Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for COVID-19. All DC Health Link plans cover diagnosis, treatment, testing, and vaccination for COVID-19 for free.

via DC Health Link:

Hispanic leaders to discuss the vulnerability of Hispanic communities to COVID-19 and state of enrollment opportunities at 6th Annual Hispanic Leadership Health Forum; Virtual enrollment and outreach events scheduled throughout the week

WHAT: 
Despite national studies showing the Hispanic community saw the biggest drops in uninsured rates thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the uninsured rate for the Hispanic community continues to be significantly higher than in other minority communities, according to a recent United States Census report.

In celebration of the National Hispanic Enrollment Week of Action, DC Health Link—in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs (MOLA), Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC), Mary’s Center and other community based organizations—will host its Annual Hispanic Enrollment Week of Action. DC Health Link is using this Enrollment Week of Action to accelerate outreach efforts to promote, educate and motivate Hispanics to enroll in quality, affordable health insurance. The Hispanic Enrollment Week of Action runs from January 12, 2021 through January 16, 2020.

I'm over a month late on this, but the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority issued a mid-OEP enrollment report at their November board meeting (unfortunately they don't appear to have done so at their December meeting), so here it is as of 11/16.

Ther's not a whole lot of interest here, but it's worth noting that DC's effectuated enrollment in November was 7.6% higher than a year ago. This is again likely due to the extended "open" COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period in 2020:

It's turned into an annual tradition: The official annual ACA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) runs from November 1st - December 15th, but most of the state-based ACA exchanges have later deadlines. hThen, right around the 12/15 point, it begins: One by one, some of the state-based exchanges announce further extensions of their deadlines to #GetCovered for the upcoming year.

In some cases they simply bump out the deadline for coverage starting in January, with the final "hard" deadline for February or March coverage staying where it is. In other cases they were never allowing Open Enrollment start dates past January to begin with, so it's the hard deadline which is being extended.

In any event, here's this year's batch of announcements; note that this list could grow longer over the next week or two:

OK, right after saying I was putting a lid on my 2021 Rate Change project, I'm slipping in one more: The District of Columbia posted their approved rate changes a few weeks back:

Information About Approved Rates for January 2021 Health Plan Offerings on DC Health Link

Open Enrollment for Plan Year 2021 DC Health Link’s open enrollment begins November 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021. DC Health Link is an online marketplace created for individuals, families, and small business owners in the District of Columbia to shop, compare, and select health insurance that meets their health needs and budgets. For more information, visit dchealthlink.com or call (855) 532-5465.

This page contains approved health plan rate information for the District of Columbia’s health insurance marketplace, DC Health Link, for plan year 2021.

Me, June 16th, after several months of various state-based ACA exchanges bumping out their COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period deadlines by a month, then another month, then another month:

I admit that this is starting to get a bit silly. At a certain point I'm guessing at least one of the state exchanges will just say "screw it" and open 2020 enrollment up for the full year.

The point of a deadline is a) to prevent people from trying to game the system by deliberately waiting until they're sick/injured before enrolling in coverage (thus driving up premiums for everyone else) and b) to goad people into actually taking action (deadlines do have a clear positive impact on enrollment). With the COVID-19 pandemic having thrown the entire healthcare system into disarray, neither of those seem to be much of a factor this year.

Maryland Connect, August 7th:

Back in April, I noted that the DC Health Link ACA exchange had announced what appeared to be a special enrollment period specifically intended for employees of small businesses via the ACA's SHOP program, through September 15th, 2020:

DC Health Link Expands Opportunities to Get Covered During Public Health Emergency

Monday, April 6, 2020

Responding to COVID-19 pandemic, DC Health Link permits uninsured employees of DC small businesses that offer health insurance through DC Health Link to get covered now

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