Get Covered

Get Covered Stay Covered 2021

via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):

Today, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra kicked off Asian Pacific Heritage Month by announcing that HHS will be partnering with select, national organizations the first week in May to support and enhance outreach and enrollment efforts for this population during the HealthCare.gov Special Enrollment Period (SEP). During the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Week of Action, which runs May 3-7, 2021, HHS and partnering organizations will provide education and enrollment assistance to AAPI consumers and use social media to encourage them to enroll in affordable, quality health coverage available through HealthCare.gov. 

MNsure Logo

via MNsure:

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Health insurance companies that partner with MNsure have given Minnesotans another reason to move to a MNsure plan. Most Minnesotans who purchased eligible individual or family coverage directly through BlueCross BlueShield MN, HealthPartners, Medica or Quartz can now purchase a plan from their current insurer through MNsure.org and in many cases without losing the dollars already paid toward their 2021 deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Recent changes to the Affordable Care Act made through the American Rescue Plan mean more Minnesotans will pay less for their insurance. And for the first time ever, Minnesotans who bought their individual or family plan from one of MNsure's partnering health insurance companies can also take advantage of these new savings, but only if they move their coverage and enroll through MNsure. Enrollees should work with their insurance company to determine which plans qualify for a transfer of amounts paid toward their 2021 deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Access Health CT Logo

Access Health CT has officially announced a new Special Enrollment Period for Connecticut residents to take advantage of the newly-expanded ACA subsidies under the American Rescue Plan:

Access Health CT Announces A Special Enrollment Period Allowing New and Existing Customers To Receive Significantly Greater Financial Help At Virtually Every Income Level

Under the American Rescue Plan, new and existing customers who buy health insurance through the Marketplace will become eligible to receive increased financial help to reduce their monthly payments

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This just in from Covered California...

  • The American Rescue Plan provides new and expanded financial help that will dramatically lower health care premiums for people who purchase health insurance through Covered California.
  • Nearly 200,000 San Diegans, including the uninsured and people enrolled directly through a health insurance carrier, stand to benefit from the new financial help that is now available.
  • In order to maximize their savings, San Diegans need to enroll before the end of this month so they can begin benefitting from the new law on May 1.
  • Many people will be able to get a high-quality plan for as little as $1 per month, while currently insured consumers could save up to $700 per month on their coverage if they sign up through Covered California.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced that San Diegans have until April 30 to sign up for health insurance coverage, and start benefitting from new financial help available through the American Rescue Plan as early as May 1st. The landmark law provides new and increased federal tax credits that will lower health care premiums for an estimated 200,000 people in the region.

Covered California Logo

This just in from Covered California...

  • The American Rescue Plan provides new and expanded financial help that will dramatically lower health insurance premiums for people who purchase coverage through Covered California
  • More than 400,000 Asian Americans in California, including the uninsured and people enrolled directly through a health insurance carrier, stand to benefit from the new financial help that is now available.
  • In order to maximize their savings, consumers need to enroll before the end of this month so they can begin benefitting from the new law on May 1.
  • Many Asian Americans will be able to get a high-quality plan for as little as $1 per month, while currently insured consumers could save up to $700 per month on their coverage if they sign up through Covered California.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced the state’s Asian American community has until April 30 to sign up for health insurance coverage, and start benefitting from new financial help available through the American Rescue Plan as early as May 1. The landmark law provides new and increased federal tax credits that will lower health care premiums for more than 400,000 Asian Americans in California.

CMS Logo

CMS is targeting specific populations more closely in order to reduce racial healthcare coverage inequality:

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced commitments from national organizations to support Black American outreach and enrollment efforts during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) made available on HealthCare.gov by President Biden due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Black Americans represent roughly 13% of the U.S. population but 16% of the uninsured.

As part of the Black American Week of Action, April 25 – May 1, HHS and its partnership organizations will combine social media efforts to inform Black American consumers and spur enrollment in affordable, quality health plans through HealthCare.gov. An estimated 66% of Black uninsured adults now may have access to a zero-premium plan and 76% may be able to find a low-premium plan as a result of expanded coverage.

CMS Logo

This was actually announced last week, but I was mainly focused on the 2021 OEP enrollment report at the time:

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that to continue its efforts to increase access to enrollment assistance for consumers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make $80 million available in grants to Navigators in Federal Marketplaces for the 2022 plan year. The funding, which will be used for outreach and education efforts, is the largest allocation CMS has made available for Navigator grants to date and represents an eight fold increase in funding from the previous year. CMS invested $10 million annually in the Navigator program beginning with funding awarded in 2018 for the 2019 plan year. CMS awarded $36.2 million in 2017 for the 2018 plan year, down from a high of $63 million awarded in 2016 for the 2017 plan year.

Another quick Connecticut update...I've received the following Special Enrollment Period (SEP) QHP selection numbers for the past three years, and they're pretty telling:

SEP Enrollment for the 2/15 – 4/15 Timeframe:

  • 2019 - 1,817
  • 2020 - 4,250
  • 2021 - 5,890

That averages out to:

  • 2019: 30/day
  • 2020: 70/day (2020 was a leap year)
  • 2021: 98/day

2020 isn't really a good comparison year, since COVID had already started ravaging the U.S. by mid-March and Connecticut also launched a COVID SEP from March 18th - April 17th last year as well. The spring of 2019, however, didn't have anything special going on, so that's a perfect pre-COVID comparison year: The 2021 COVID SEP racked up 3.26x as many new enrollees as you'd typically expect to during the off-season for the same time period.

A week or so ago, Access Health CT's COVID Special Enrollment Period ended...but they also announced that they're re-launching a new SEP starting on May 1st anyway. This amounts to them taking a 2-week pause to reprogram/retool their website to take advantage of the expanded ACA subsidies under the American Rescue Plan.

At the time, they were only allowing current exchange enrollees to switch plans mid-year via a cumbersome process of calling into the exchange directly. Today it sounds like that's been changed:

Access Health CT American Rescue Plan Act Policy

I've noted before that enrollment in Michigan's ACA Medicaid expansion program, "Healthy Michigan", has risen sharply over the past year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit; it's up by over 1/3 since last February.

However, it's also worth noting that non-ACA Medicaid enrollment has also jumped significantly since the pandemic arrived. I've dug into data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Michigan's Health Dept. archives and put together the graph below, showing that non-ACA Medicaid enrollment has risen from around 1.66 million Michiganders in February 2020 to over 1.92 million today, a 16% increase.

Combined, total Medicaid enrollment is up by around 21% to over 2.82 million as of April 2021.

I should also note that in addition to this, 267,000 Michiganders enrolled in ACA exchange coverage during the 2021 Open Enrollment Period, of which a good 90% (240,000)paid their first monthly premium based on past ACA data. At the time I noted that around 83% were subsidized, or perhaps 200,000.

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