Last week, on the eve of the close of the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period, Families USA released a special report, “Accelerating the Affordable Care Act’s Enrollment Momentum: 10 Recommendations for Future Enrollment Periods” highlighting ten things that the Department of Health and Human Services and/or state marketplaces can do to improve enrollment in time for November 15, the next open enrollment period.
Basic Health Plan Final Rules: States Can Move Forward to Improve Coverage for Lower-Income Consumers
Basic Health Plans are an option under the Affordable Care Act that allows states to provide—as a more affordable alternative to marketplace plans—public health coverage that is the same or similar to Medicaid and CHIP to people with incomes between 133 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Because Basic Health Plans can be the same or similar to Medicaid, some low-income people with fluctuating incomes can stay in one health program with the same provider network instead of cycling back and forth between Medicaid and the marketplace due to their changing incomes.
Congressman Paul Ryan released his budget proposal today for Fiscal Year 2015, outlining the funding and policy priorities for House Republicans. As in past years, this budget cuts a large chunk of health care funding, causing irreparable harm to millions of Americans who rely on Medicare, Medicaid, and provisions under the Affordable Care Act to stay healthy.
Tonight (by midnight) marks the end of the first open enrollment period to get health insurance in the marketplaces. And although this first open enrollment period was a success—more than 6 million people had signed up for health insurance as of March 27—there are still opportunities to enroll millions of people who remain uninsured. This post outlines the ongoing enrollment opportunities that remain beyond the close of the first open enrollment period.
On March 5, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued final rules on how employers report their employees’ health insurance. This was the last of a series of rules needed for implementing the requirement that large employers provide health insurance to their workers, or pay a penalty if they do not.
Last month, four state Medicaid directors joined Families USA in a conference call to share their successes enrolling residents in the health insurance marketplace and Medicaid.
Washington, Oregon, Kentucky, and West Virginia all have state-run health insurance marketplaces. Two of those states (Oregon and West Virginia), in an effort to boost the number of residents who have health coverage, are piloting an innovative “fast track” approach to Medicaid enrollment—one that accelerates enrollment by sparing states the administrative time and costs of handling separate applications for multiple programs (such as SNAP and Medicaid).
Having Medicaid is better than being uninsured—a lot better. But House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s recently released report, War on Poverty: 50 Years Late, claims otherwise.
The report, issued by the House Budget Committee, is a critique of the anti-poverty programs initiated by President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” initiative 50 years earlier. Medicaid is among the programs with which Ryan finds fault. However, the analysis of Medicaid skews much of the data on the program.
March is National Women’s History Month. As part of this month of honoring women’s strength, resilience, and leadership, March 10 was designated as National Women and HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day historically focused on testing and prevention of the infection. With the Affordable Care Act affording many low- and middle-income HIV-positive people quality, affordable health coverage for the first time, this year’s National Women and HIV/AIDS Awareness Day took one step further and also focused on the proper care and treatment for women who are HIV-positive.
Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $67 million in grants to 105 organizations to hire navigators and help consumers enroll in health insurance marketplace plans.
These navigators and assisters have played an invaluable role to millions of people who have signed up so far. Now, the federal government must prepare for the next round of funding.
Health insurers and web brokers who follow certain federal rules (relating to topics such as protecting consumer information and displaying standardized disclaimers) are allowed to directly enroll consumers in marketplace health coverage and financial assistance; the consumer does not need to directly visit a marketplace website or contact a marketplace call center in these instances.