2015 ACA Open Enrollment: More Than 6 Million Receive Premium Tax Credit

February 10, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services, Health Insurance Marketplace | Leave a comment
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Yesterday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released  a report outlining the impact of advanced premium tax credits on premiums in the Health Insurance Marketplaces. Almost 6.5 million individuals in the 37 states using the HealthCare.gov platform are estimated to qualify for an average of $268 per person/month in advanced premium tax credits. Among consumers who are signed up for 2015 coverage to date in the 37 HealthCare.gov states, 8 in 10 could choose a plan with a premium of $100 or less after tax credits, based on available options.

A copy of the full HHS announcement can be found here:

Almost 6.5 million consumers qualify for an average tax credit of $268 per month through the Health Insurance Marketplaces

White House Announces More Than Seven Million Have Signed Up for Health Care through Exchange/Marketplace

April 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Posted in Affordable Care Act | Leave a comment
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The following was posted this afternoon on the White House webpage:

Today, the White House announced that more than 7 million Americans signed up for affordable care through the Health Insurance Marketplace during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment, which ended on March 31.

This number announced during Press Secretary Jay Carney’s briefing, means that millions of Americans across the country now have access to quality, affordable care. As numbers continue to come in from states running their own Marketplace, that number will continue to rise.

Later today, President Obama will deliver a statement on the Affordable Care Act in the Rose Garden. You can watch it on WhiteHouse.gov/Live at 4:15 p.m. ET.

Though HealthCare.gov got off to a rocky start in October, the open enrollment period ended with soaring interest — including a record-breaking 4.8 million visits to HealthCare.gov, and around 2 million calls to CMS call centers. Throughout this weekend, Americans across the country were literally lined up around the block at local enrollment centers.

It’s important to remember that 7 million represents only part of the total number of people who have received coverage under the Affordable Care Act: millions more have been covered by state Medicaid expansions, and around 3 million Americans under 26 are now covered under their parents’ plans.

ACA Exchange Enrollment Hits 4 Million

February 26, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Affordable Care Act, Compliance, Health and Human Services, Health Care, Health Insurance Exchanges, Health Insurance Marketplace, Medical, PPACA, Regulations | Leave a comment
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HHS announced Tuesday that approximately 4 million Americans have enrolled through the end of January for coverage through the Affordable Care Act Exchanges. A full enrollment report for February will be released in mid-March.

“With individuals and families enrolling in coverage every day, we continue to see strong demand nationwide from consumers who want access to quality, affordable coverage,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “Our outreach efforts are in full force with community partners and local officials participating in hundreds of events each week and enrollment assistors are helping more and more people enroll in coverage,” she continued.

Only five weeks remain in the open enrollment period.

HHS Announces 53% Increase in Federal Exchange/Marketplace Enrollment

February 14, 2014 at 9:21 am | Posted in Affordable Care Act, Compliance, Health and Human Services, Health Care, Health Insurance Exchanges, Health Insurance Marketplace, Medical, PPACA | Leave a comment
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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on February 12 that enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace continued to rise in January, with a 53 percent increase in overall enrollment over the prior three-month reporting period, with young adult enrollment outpacing all other age groups combined.

Nearly 3.3 million people enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace plans by February 1, 2014 (the end of the fourth reporting period for open enrollment), with January alone accounting for 1.1 million plan selections in state and federal marketplaces. In January, 27 percent of those who selected plans in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace are between the ages of 18 and 34, a three percentage point increase over the figure reported for the previous three-month period. Young adult enrollment grew by 65 percent in January, from 489,460 at the end of December to 807,515 as of February 1, while all other age groups combined grew by 55 percent.

A copy of the HHS press release is here: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/02/20140212a.html

 

The Massachusetts Affordable Care Act (ACA) Website Is Woefully Underperforming: Outside Review Ordered

January 10, 2014 at 11:52 am | Posted in Affordable Care Act, Compliance, Health Care, Health Insurance Exchanges, Health Insurance Marketplace, Massachusetts Health Connector, Medical | Leave a comment
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While much has been reported in the media about the problematic rollout of the federal government’s ACA website, Healthcare.Gov, Massachusetts officials have now acknowledged that the state’s website is beset by a blizzard of problems as well. The Boston Globe has reported that thousands of Massachusetts residents have been unable to enroll, and the website’s troubles also include poor communication and inconsistent enrollment data.

There are widespread reports of substandard customer service as well when individuals try to call the Massachusetts Health Connector in an effort to find an alternative means of enrolling. The state is exploring litigation against the website’s vendor, CGI, which is the same vendor who designed the federal government’s ACA website. Progress on the Massachusetts website has stalled and the state late last year stopped paying CGI’s $69 million contract because the firm failed to deliver pieces of the website and necessary fixes on time.

The Board for the Massachusetts Healthcare Connector announced yesterday that MITRE, an independent technology firm, will review the state’s failed health insurance website and make recommendations about how to move forward in rebuilding a system that allows people to easily shop for and buy coverage online.

HHS Announces Increase in Healthcare.Gov November Enrollment Figures: Significant Number Going to Medicaid Expansion

December 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Affordable Care Act, Compliance, Essential Health Benefits, Health and Human Services, Health Care, Health Insurance Exchanges, Health Insurance Marketplace, Medical, PPACA | Leave a comment
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This morning HHS reported that nearly 365,000 individuals have selected plans from the state and federal Marketplaces by the end of November. HHS reported, among other things, that:

  • November’s federal enrollment number outpaced the October number by more than four times.
  • Nearly 1.2 million Americans, based only on the first two months of open enrollment, have selected a plan or had a Medicaid or CHIP eligibility determination.
    • Of those, 364,682 Americans selected plans from the state and federal Marketplaces; and
    • 803,077 Americans were determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid or CHIP by the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • 39.1 million visitors have visited the state and federal sites to date.
  • There were an estimated 5.2 million calls to the state and federal call centers.

What “may” be a troubling sign is that, to date, the majority of enrollees have been directed into Medicaid or CHIP coverage and are not paying premiums for their coverage. HHS is hopeful that the premium-paying, working “young invincibles” (ages 19-35), who are a key actuarial pillar to the Affordable Care Act, will enroll closer to the end of the enrollment period in March 2014.

A copy of the HHS Release and accompanying report is here: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/12/20131211a.html

HHS Delays Small Business On-Line Exchange Enrollment One Year; Claims Significant Improvement in Healthcare.gov Website

December 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services, Health Care, Health Insurance Marketplace | Leave a comment
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Small Business Exchange  

On November 27th, HHS announced that small businesses (less than 50 employees) will not be able to purchase on-line group health insurance for its employees through a federally facilitated small business exchange this year. The Affordable Care Act created the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) for small businesses to give them added leverage in the health insurance marketplace and the availability of tax credits. Small businesses can now purchase a qualified health plan directly, however, through a broker or agent. In responding to a series of FAQs, HHS advised that:

  • When will my employees and I be able to apply and enroll in the SHOP on-line?

You and your employees will be able to apply and enroll in SHOP coverage on-line starting in November 2014, for coverage that takes effect in January 2015. That’s also when you’ll have the option to offer your employees a choice of Qualified Health Plans and be able to make a single monthly payment to insurers, no matter how many plans your employees have selected.

  • Status of Healthcare.gov Website: Substantial Progress but Work Remains

On December 1st, HHS released a status report on the Healthcare.gov website which is a critical tool for enrolling uninsured Americans. The report states, in part:

Over the last five weeks, substantial progress has been made improving HealthCare.gov and getting the system to where it needs to be.

Hundreds of software fixes, hardware upgrades, and continuous monitoring have measurably improved the consumer experience.

Site capacity is stable at its intended level.

Operating metrics are greatly improved, and activity levels demonstrate the site is working for consumers. While there is more work to be done, the team is operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness, and will continue their work to improve and enhance the website in the weeks and months ahead.

A copy of the full HHS/CMS website status report is here: HealthCare.gov Progress Report Final

HHS Press Release Announcing “Tech Surge” and Goal to Improve Website Experience For Exchange Enrollment

October 22, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Posted in Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services, Health Care, Health Insurance Exchanges, Health Insurance Marketplace, PPACA | Leave a comment
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The Department of Health and Human Services released the following  press release addressing the problems with the roll out of healthcare exchange enrollment:

Over the past two and a half weeks, millions of Americans visited HealthCare.gov to look at their new health care options under the Affordable Care Act. In that time, nearly half a million applications for coverage have been submitted from across the nation. This tremendous interest – with over 19 million unique visits to date to HealthCare.gov – confirms that the American people are looking for quality, affordable health coverage, and want to find it online.

Unfortunately, the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans. Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion. The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people. We are committed to doing better.

Aside from the difficulties since launching the site, there are parts of the overall system that have proved up to the task. The “Data Hub” component, which provides HealthCare.gov with information that aids in determining eligibility for qualified health plans, is working. Individuals have been able to verify their eligibility for credits, enabling them to shop for and enroll in low or even no-cost health plans.

WHAT HAPPENED – WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON

Since launch, when we first recognized these issues, we have been working around the clock to make improvements. We have updated the site several times with new code that includes bug fixes that have greatly improved the HealthCare.gov experience. The initial wave of interest stressed the account service, resulting in many consumers experiencing trouble signing up, while those that were able to sign up sometimes had problems logging in.

In response, we have made a number of improvements to the account service. Initially, we implemented a virtual “waiting room,” but many found this experience to be confusing. We continued to add more capacity in order to meet demand and execute software fixes to address the sign up and log in issues, stabilizing those parts of the service and allowing us to remove the virtual “waiting room.” Today, more and more individuals are successfully creating accounts, logging in, and moving on to apply for coverage and shop for plans. We’re proud of these quick improvements, but we know there’s still more work to be done. We will continue to conduct regular maintenance nearly every night to improve the experience.

TECH SURGE

To ensure that we make swift progress, and that the consumer experience continues to improve, our team has called in additional help to solve some of the more complex technical issues we are encountering.

Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov. We’re also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of HealthCare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them. We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis

“Mums the Word” on how many individuals have actually enrolled in the Exchanges

October 4, 2013 at 11:01 am | Posted in Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services, Health Care, Health Insurance Exchanges, Health Insurance Marketplace, PPACA | Leave a comment
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Today is the start of day four of enrollment in the new Affordable Care Act Exchanges. The publication Healthwatch reports that yesterday the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said  that healthcare.gov, the main portal to sign up for coverage, received 7 million visits in its first 48 hours of operation. HHS also reported that the long waits that were shutting consumers out of the system were getting better and that, on average, wait times for healthcare.gov had been reduced by one-third.

While HHS is quick to point out the number of website visitors to its Exchange website, HHS still isn’t releasing, however, the actual number of people who have enrolled for coverage through the federal marketplace.

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