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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.

This Just In from Your Health Idaho:

Final Deadline for 2021 Health Insurance is April 30

  • Last Chance for Idahoans to Receive Enhanced Subsidies

BOISE, Idaho – Your Health Idaho, the state health insurance exchange, announced the final day to enroll in 2021 health insurance, without a Qualifying Life Event, is April 30.

“This is the last chance for Idahoans to take advantage of the increased tax credits and enroll in 2021 coverage,” said Pat Kelly, Your Health Idaho Executive Director. “These savings can be significant for Idaho families who may have thought health insurance was out of reach prior to the American Rescue Plan Act.”

I've confirmed that unlike other state exchanges which have bumped out their deadlines repeatedly, Your Health Idaho explicitly does not intend on extending this deadline out again: April 30th is the final deadline.

After extending the special enrollment period deadline from March 31, exchange officials are urging Idahoans to apply for savings from a health insurance tax credit and make their final plan selection by 11:59 p.m. (MT) on Friday, April 30.

Nevada Health Link Logo

via Nevada Health Link:

Nevada Health Link Announces Health Insurance Savings Through the American Rescue Plan Act

  • Nevadans seeking health coverage can access increased or expanded subsidies and premium savings, healthcare tax credits, expanded COBRA protections and increased plan options

CARSON CITY, Nev. (April 16, 2021) – Nevada Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace operated by the state agency, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange), is offering even bigger coverage savings to eligible uninsured and insured off-Exchange Nevadans. These new enhancements are in accordance with the newly-enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA or American Rescue Plan) of 2021 passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021.

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