Category Archives: Breaking News

Special Enrollment Period for the Affordable Care Act

March 15, 2015 through April 30, 2015 The open enrollment deadline to sign up for health insurance passed in February, but some consumers are getting a second chance. As tax season cranks into full gear, the federal government decided to offer a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) through April 30. So who qualifies this time around? You may still be able to enroll in 2015 coverage if: You didn’t know until after open enrollment ended on Feb. 15, 2015, that the healthcare law required you and your household to have health coverage, or you didn’t understand how the requirement would impact you and your household You owe the fee for not having coverage for one or more months in 2014 You aren’t already enrolled in 2015 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or outside the Marketplace If all of these apply to you, you can enroll in a 2015 plan through April 30, 2015. If you enroll in coverage on or before the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective the first day of the following month. A tax exemption tool is available at Healthcare.gov to help consumers find out if they qualify for an exemption from any penalties. Other special enrollment periods throughout the year offer coverage to people losing group coverage, people getting married or having a baby, small businesses looking to insure employees, and a handful of other scenarios. Find the full list at Healthcare.gov.  

NY Times: Bracing for New Challenges in Year 2 of Healthcare Law

By REED ABELSON New York Times The first year of enrollment under the federal health care law was marred by the troubled start of HealthCare.gov, rampant confusion among consumers and a steep learning curve for insurers and government officials alike. But insurance executives and managers of the online marketplaces are already girding for the coming open enrollment period, saying they fear it could be even more difficult than the last.    

HHS sets enrollment rules for year two of Obamacare

By The Washington Post The Obama administration proposed new rules Thursday to let most Americans with health plans in the federal health insurance marketplace be enrolled automatically in a second year of coverage, but the approach prompted swift questions about how it would work and who would benefit.

La. business exchange delayed

Insurance options available in 2016 By TED GRIGGSThe Advocate Louisiana is one of 18 states where small businesses will be allowed to offer only one health plan to workers in 2015 under the Affordable Care Act’s Small Business Health Options Program marketplace, known as SHOP. The SHOP online insurance marketplaces were supposed to offer a variety of options for group coverage to workers of companies that employ 50 people or less. Coverage through those plans was supposed to be available in 2015. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ delay means those choices won’t be available in Louisiana until 2016. “We were disappointed to see the delay in increased offerings, such as employee choice,” said Kevin Kuhlman, a spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business. “What it shows us is small businesses are low on the Obamacare implementation priority list, and SHOP exchanges are just kind of an afterthought at this point and time.” In a May 29 letter to DHHS, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon recommended delaying the SHOP transition. Implementing the employee choice model in 2015 would have increased insurance rates by anywhere from 2 percent to 7 percent on top of what was already expected, Donelon said. The main reason for the additional increase is what is called adverse selection, said state Deputy Commissioner Korey Harvey. People with health issues or who plan elective procedures tend to buy policies with richer benefits, and insurance companies raise rates to cover the increased utilization. The rates on the exchange are tied to those that are sold off the exchange. So if the rates increase on the exchange, the rates must also rise for off-exchange policies. Harvey said Louisiana will be able […]