Open enrollment period

Brokers Blame Tech Vulnerabilities for ACA Plan Switching, Signup Scams

CMS recently said it received tens of thousands of complaints from people who were enrolled in Affordable Care Act marketplace plans without their consent by unscrupulous brokers during the first three months of this year. That led the National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals (NABIP), a broker trade group, to criticize CMS for its handling of the situation and claim that all brokers had been unfairly blamed by the agency.

But one industry expert says that there is “plenty of blame to go around” for the unauthorized enrollments, which can result in financial harm to plan members and insurers alike.

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As ACA Exchanges Turn 10, New HHS Reports Show How Far They’ve Come

Over the first 10 years of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, enrollment nationwide has almost tripled, from 8 million individuals in 2014 to 21.4 million in 2024, according to an HHS report.

While the ACA initially envisioned the marketplaces to be developed by states, it also provided states with the option to participate in the federally facilitated marketplace, HealthCare.gov. In 2014, 14 states and the District of Columbia chose to operate their own state-based marketplaces (SBMs). In 2024, there are 19 SBMs.

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A Closer Look at 2024 ACA Enrollment: Another Year of Record Signups

More than 21.4 million people have signed up or were automatically re-enrolled in Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage during the 2024 open enrollment period, a 31% increase compared to 2023 OEP, according to CMS.

About 16.4 million people enrolled through HealthCare.gov in the 32 states that use that platform, and another 5.1 million enrolled across 18 states and the District of Columbia, which use their own marketplaces. More than 5.2 million people signed up for marketplace coverage for the first time, a 41% increase compared to 3.7 million during the 2023 OEP.

Every state except Maine saw membership growth in 2024, ranging from 0.2% in the District of Columbia to 80.2% in West Virginia. From 2023 to 2024, 44 of the 51 states reported signup increases of at least 10%, and seven states saw surges of more than 50%. Compared to 2021, marketplace enrollment increased over 150% in six states: Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

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News Briefs: ACA Plan Signups Totaled 21M During 2024 Open Enrollment

More than 21 million people selected or were automatically reenrolled in health plans during the most recent Affordable Care Act open enrollment period (OEP). That’s according to one of four reports issued by HHS on March 22 marking the 10-year anniversary of the ACA. HHS also said that 5.1 million more people signed up for coverage during the 2024 OEP compared to the 2023 OEP, representing a 31% increase. Another report found that over 45 million people now have coverage thanks to the creation of the ACA marketplaces and Medicaid expansion -- “the highest total on record.”

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on March 14 began a review of UnitedHealth Group’s proposed acquisition of Amedisys Inc., a home health provider. Amedisys disclosed the OHA’s review in a March 19 Securities and Exchange Commission filing. UnitedHealth made a $3.26 billion unsolicited offer for Amedisys last June, shortly after Amedisys had agreed to merge with Option Care Health, Inc., a home infusion provider. Amedisys’s shareholders approved the UnitedHealth deal in September, but the transaction is subject to regulatory approval. In a preliminary analysis published this month, the OHA wrote “this transaction has the potential to reduce competition in Oregon’s market for home health and hospice services and other health care markets in the state.”

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ACA Marketplaces Continue to See Record-Breaking Enrollment

Over 20 million people have enrolled in Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage since the start of the 2024 open enrollment period (OEP), reaching a record for the third consecutive year, according to CMS. Over 3.7 million people who have signed up for ACA plans are new enrollees this year.

More than 15.5 million people have enrolled through HealthCare.gov in the 32 states that use that platform, and another 4.8 million have enrolled across 18 states and the District of Columbia, which use their own marketplaces.

After adjusting enrollment figures to account for the fact that there is one fewer day included in the 2024 OEP data compared to last year’s report, an ACAsignups.net analysis showed that every state except Maine and the District of Columbia saw membership growth in 2024, ranging from 2.8% in Hawaii to 78.8% in West Virginia. A total of 10 states reported signup surges of more than 50%.

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News Briefs: Elevance, BCBS of Louisiana Deal is Back On

After merger talks fizzled in September, Elevance Health, Inc.’s agreement to acquire Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is back on, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The companies had put the $2.5 billion deal on hold due to rising opposition, but the Times-Picayune reported the companies filed a new application on Dec. 14 with the Louisiana Dept. of Insurance. The structure of the deal is largely unchanged, although the companies agreed to expand the board of directors for the Accelerate Louisiana Initiative, a nonprofit foundation. The companies expect the transaction will close during the first quarter of 2024.

More than 19 million people have signed up for coverage via Affordable Care Act exchange plans for next year, according to the most recent data from CMS. The enrollment figures are as of Dec. 15 for the 32 states that use the HealthCare.gov website and through Dec. 9 for the 18 states and Washington. D.C., that have state-based marketplaces. More than 15.3 million had signed up for plans in states using the HealthCare.gov platform, a 33% increase from last year. In addition, more than 745,000 people signed up on Dec. 15, the largest single-day record since HealthCare.gov launched on Oct. 1, 2013.

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ACA Marketplaces See Robust Enrollment, So Far

Nearly 4.6 million people have enrolled in Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage since the start of the 2024 open enrollment period on Nov. 1, a 36% increase compared to the same point during the 2023 OEP, according to CMS. This year’s open enrollment season will last from Nov. 1, 2023, to Jan. 15, 2024, in most states and longer in some state-based marketplaces (SBMs).

More than 4 million people have enrolled through HealthCare.gov in the 32 states that use that platform, and another 501,962 have enrolled across 18 states and the District of Columbia, which use their own marketplaces. Most states are seeing significant membership growth in 2024 compared with the same period last year. Mississippi reported a signup surge of almost 114%.

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ACA Marketplaces See Robust Enrollment, So Far

Nearly 4.6 million people have enrolled in Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage since the start of the 2024 open enrollment period on Nov. 1, a 36% increase compared to the same point during the 2023 OEP, according to CMS. This year’s open enrollment season will last from Nov. 1, 2023, to Jan. 15, 2024, in most states and longer in some state-based marketplaces (SBMs).

More than 4 million people have enrolled through HealthCare.gov in the 32 states that use that platform, and another 501,962 have enrolled across 18 states and the District of Columbia, which use their own marketplaces. Most states are seeing significant membership growth in 2024 compared with the same period last year. Mississippi reported a signup surge of almost 114%.

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Texas Messes With ACA Rating Areas — With Promising Results

Merging urban and rural Affordable Care Act marketplace rating areas in Texas significantly increased carrier and plan choices and lowered overall plan premiums in rural Texas, according to a recent Health Affairs study.

When calculating premiums for customers, the ACA permits insurers to consider those customers’ area of residence — or rating area — among other factors including age, smoking status and family size. Yet the use of rating areas can lead to higher premiums for rural areas, where residents tend to have greater health care needs and where there’s a smaller risk pool due to lower population density.

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2024 ACA Open Enrollment: Steady Plan Competition, Tailored Benefits

Ahead of the 2024 open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act exchange plans that began on Nov. 1, major U.S. health insurers issued a spate of press releases touting their plan options and listing new areas in which they’d offer coverage. While ACA marketplace experts say that 2024 will not feature any seismic changes in terms of insurer competition — given the exchanges’ history of mass insurer exits and panic over “bare counties” with no available health plans, that may be a good thing.

“Overall participation by carriers is down from last year, when there was also a slight decline,” says Katherine Hempstead, Ph.D., who for years has helped produce the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) ACA Marketplace Participation Tracker. “So after several years of increased entry into new states, now we have seen a real leveling off,” adds Hempstead, who is RWJF’s senior policy adviser.

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