Governor Murphy and New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Kick Off ACA Open Enrollment Period
Governor Announces Strengthened ACA Efforts, including $3.1 Million to Support Outreach and Enrollment Efforts and Bolstered Get Covered NJ Awareness Campaign
TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy, joined by Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) Commissioner Marlene Caride and enrollment assisters from across the state, today announced Navigator grant awards totaling $1.1 million to provide enrollment assistance to residents shopping for health coverage during the six-week open enrollment window. DOBI plans to release approximately $500,000 more in grants in the coming days.
This just in via MNsure (Minesota's ACA exchange):
MNsure update on first week of open enrollment
ST. PAUL—MNsure CEO Nate Clark issued the following statement recapping the first full week of open enrollment:
“MNsure has seen strong and steady interest during the first week of open enrollment. Minnesotans have six weeks left to sign up for their 2020 coverage. Remember, MNsure is the only place Minnesotans can get access to tax credits that could lower premium costs. We’ve also got a statewide network of assisters who offer free, in-person help so consumers can be sure they’re finding the health care plan that meets their needs.”
Open enrollment figures will be released next Wednesday (11/13) at MNsure’s public board meeting at 1 p.m.
Please watch this interview with Hillary Clinton. The whole thing is worth watching, but the portion about healthcare policy and the best route forward starts at around 9:20 in and runs less than 7 minutes, to 16:00 (It's supposed to be cued up to exactly 9:20 but you may have to scrub forward to get to it depending on your device).
Please take 6 minutes and 40 seconds out of your day to actually listen to the words which are coming out of her mouth.
UPDATE: Full, verbatim transcript by yours truly:
Andrew Ross Sorkin: “I want to talk to you a little bit about healthcare, because I know it’s an issue that you care about deeply and have thought a lot about.”
Hillary Clinton: “I have.”
Sorkin: “Because we seem to be in a very divided world, not just among two different parties, but even within the Democratic Party. Medicare for All versus a Public Option. You look at what Elizabeth Warren presented last week, and you think...what?”
*("Week One" is a misnomer...see highlighted explanation below)
This Just In from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid...
Federal Health Insurance Exchange Weekly Enrollment Snapshot: Week 1
Week 1, November 1-November 2, 2019
In week one of the 2020 Open Enrollment, 177,082 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform. As in past years, enrollment weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday. Consequently, week one was only two days long this year - from Friday to Saturday.
Every week during Open Enrollment, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will release enrollment snapshots for the HealthCare.gov platform, which is used by the Federally-facilitated Exchange and some State-based Exchanges. These snapshots provide point-in-time estimates of weekly plan selections, call center activity, and visits to HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov.
While the bill, titled the "Advancing Youth Enrollment Act", wouldn't have nearly as much impact on premiums or enrollment as the more expansive ACA 2.0 bills I've been promoting (H.R. 1868 & 1884 in the House; S.1213 in the Senate), anything which reduces premiums for more people without reducing patient protections or coverage standards is always a good thing in my book, so I'm happy to give Baldwin's bill another shout-out:
The Advancing Youth Enrollment Act lowers health care costs while maintaining critical ACA protections
In 2015, Republican Matt Bevin campaigned for governor on two major healthcare-related platforms:
Eliminate the state's perfectly-functioning, award-winning, highly-praised and beloved ACA exchange, "kynect" for no particular reason other than spite.
Eliminate the state's ACA Medicaid expansion program, which as of this writing provides around 480,000 low-income Kentuckians with healthcare coverage.
For some inexplicable reason, voters in Kentucky elected him regardless. Once he got into office, he did indeed make good on the first promise, shutting down the state's perfectly good ACA exchange platform and shifting KY to the federal exchange at HealthCare.Gov.
When it came to eliminating Medicaid expansion, on the other hand, he found it to be a little bit tougher than expected; actually pulling the plug on nearly half a million people's healthcare coverage proved to be a tougher nut to crack than he thought.
About 35,000 Idaho residents have signed up for Medicaid under expanded coverage in the first few days it has been offered, state officials said Monday.
The Department of Health and Welfare said that's more than a third of the estimated 91,000 people who are eligible. The agency started taking applications Friday, and it is tracking numbers on its website.
That's the good news. Of course, Republican legislators couldn't leave well enough alone:
Voters authorized Medicaid expansion last year with an initiative that passed with 61% of the vote after years of inaction by state lawmakers. But lawmakers earlier this year added restrictions requiring five waivers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
...Most recently, Idaho last month submitted a waiver requiring patients to get referrals from primary physicians before they can get family planning services such as birth control, abortions or pregnancy care.
The original purpose of this website was, of course, to do real-time (or close to real-time) tracking of how many people actually select Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) via the ACA exchanges.
Every year I start out with a "blank" with my projections for how I think the upcoming Open Enrollment Period (OEP) will play out. For 2020, however, I'm just overlaying 2019's enrollment patterns on the graph (for both the federal and state exchanges) to see how things play out year over year.
There's some important things to keep in mind for the 2020 OEP:
HOWEVER, for the time being at least, that seems to be where she's decided to lay her marker, so it is what it is.
(Note: Since then, I've publicly stated that I'm now leaning more towards Sen. Kamala Harris who was always my strong #2 choice. This doesn't mean I no longer like Warren--the two have simply swapped places in my #1 and #2 column.)
I've made quite a bit of fuss about California expanding availability of ACA financial subsidies to those earning 400 - 600% of the Federal Poverty Line ($75K for a single person, $154K for a family of four). The subsidies aren't massive for most people, but for hundreds of thousands of Californians--especially older folks earning between 400 - 450% FPL--this is a huge savings. In addition, they're sweetening the subsidies somewhat for those already receiving ACA tax credits.
The only real concern I had about this is whether enough people in California know about it. Just like with reinstating the mandate penalty (which California has also done this year), expanding & enhancing ACA subsidies isn't gonna cause a spike in enrollment if no one knows they're available. A lot of people who might have checked into it in prior years isn't likely to bother taking another look if they don't know that the income cut-off threshold has gone up, and many others have never bothered trying in the first place because they "heard somewhere" that they won't qualify.
Like Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain, I can't seem to quit playing around with the jaw-dropping possibilities which could impact future Medical Loss Ratio rebate payments in response to the ghosts of Open Enrollment Periods past.
Back in late June, right after the first Democratic Primary Candidate Presidential Debate, I posted an analysis & table to break out exactly where each of the then-20 (!) candidates stood when it comes to the Next Big Thing in U.S. healthcare policy. I posted a couple of updates as the summer and early fall progressed.
At the time, my main point was that regardless of their official campaign rhetoric, the truth was that nearly all of the candidates were open to multiple paths towards expanding healthcare coverage...both in terms of the number of people covered, the scope of that coverage and the cost of coverage to the enrollees, with a greater portion of the total cost being borne by the federal government.