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Connect for Health Colorado Logo

via Connect for Health Colorado:

Losing Free COBRA Premiums or Job Health Insurance? You Can Still Enroll in Health Coverage for the Last Few Months of 2021

  • Residents with a Qualifying Event Have Options to Get Covered

DENVER – Thousands of Coloradans will lose free COBRA premiums at the end of the month and may need other affordable coverage options. Through the American Rescue Plan Act, which passed earlier this year, many people were able to receive free COBRA premiums through September 30. Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance marketplace, is reminding residents that they can still sign up for a health insurance plan for the remainder of the year if they experience a Qualifying Life Event, such as losing free COBRA premiums this month or losing job health insurance.

Access Health CT Logo

via Access Health CT:

Access Health CT Awarded $1.1M Grant From The Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services

  • Grant funding supports the implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act in Connecticut and several technology upgrades improving the consumer experience

HARTFORD, Conn. (September 20, 2021)—Access Health CT (AHCT) announced today it was recently awarded $1.1 million of grant funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The grant will be used to financially support the implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) helping to make health insurance more affordable for Connecticut residents, along with technology modernization projects that will enhance consumer experiences within the online customer portal. The grant funding was made possible through the ARPA.

HealthCare.Gov Logo

 

I've received an important reminder from the folks at HealthCare.Gov:

Continued Enrollment Opportunity for Consumers with Unemployment Compensation

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides additional savings to help consumers access affordable, quality health coverage options, including expanded opportunities for those who received or are approved to receive unemployment compensation in 2021.

Starting July 1, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) added a new function to HealthCare.gov to allow consumers who receive or are approved to receive unemployment compensation for any week beginning during 2021 to access new savings on health insurance coverage, if they qualify.

New York State of Health

via NY State of Health:

NY State of Health Enrollment Continues to Surge as More New Yorkers Sign Up for Low-Cost Coverage Following the American Rescue Plan and Enhancements Made to New York’s Essential Plan

MNsure Logo

via MNsure:

Federal COBRA Subsidies are Ending This Month, but Minnesotans Have Affordable Health Coverage Options Through MNsure

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The federal subsidy for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, expires on September 30. The subsidy, part of the American Rescue Plan stimulus package, has helped unemployed Minnesotans who chose to continue with their workplace health insurance plan stay covered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Minnesotans who are losing this COBRA subsidy and are looking to keep their health care costs low should visit MNsure.org today to check out their health coverage options and see how much they can save,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “Avoiding a gap in health coverage is more important than ever, so don’t wait.”

HHS Dept.

A little over a month ago, I made the following projection:

So, what does this mean for the final SEP push (again, it runs through 8/15 in most states)?

Well, it's hard to say, but I'd imagine it'll be a bit higher than the last week of July. That would mean something like ~220,000 more QHP selections via HC.gov states, and perhaps another 85,000 or so via the state-based exchanges (assuming they still make up roughly 28% of the national total). If so, that would put the final 8/15 tally at around 2.86 million new enrollees during the 2021 COVID SEP nationally (~2.05 million via HC.gov, ~808K via the SBMs).

Moments ago, via the HHS Dept (oddly, not via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), which usually publishes these enrollment reports):

Covered California Logo

via Covered California:

  • An estimated 138,000 Californians face significantly higher health insurance premiums when their federal COBRA subsidies come to an end on Sept. 30.
  • Covered California opened a special-enrollment period to give eligible COBRA recipients an opportunity to switch their coverage and potentially save hundreds of dollars a month on their health insurance.
  • Many of those consumers will be able to stay with their same brand-name insurance company when they switch to Covered California.
  • People who sign up by Sept. 30 will have their coverage start on Oct. 1.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced a special-enrollment period for Californians who will soon be losing the federal financial help that is allowing them to continue receiving health insurance through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, better known as COBRA. Under one provision of the American Rescue Plan, Californians have been eligible for financial help that pays 100 percent of their COBRA premiums from April 1 through Sept. 30.

Maryland Health Connection

via Maryland Health Connection:

200,000 MARYLANDERS GAINED HEALTH COVERAGE THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL ENROLLMENT

  • Special enrollment in response to pandemic ran from March 2020 to August 2021

(BALTIMORE) — A total of 201,141 Marylanders enrolled through the Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment on Maryland Health Connection from March 16, 2020 to its conclusion on Aug. 15, 2021.

The numbers here are certainly good news and pretty impressive, but it's really, really important to keep that start date in mind when looking at them.

The 17-month special enrollment in response to the pandemic was one of the longest of any state in the country. It was extended several times in 2020 and 2021 as the emergency continued. In all:

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

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.

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