OPEN ENROLLMENT BEGAN THIS WEEK
Open Enrollment began on Wednesday, November 1 and the NDNRC wants to make sure that navigators who work with people with disabilities have all the resources that they need as it relates to enrollment in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. These resources consist of a Disability Guide to help in identifying issues that are central to healthcare insurance for people with disabilities along with 17 topical and 9 population specific factsheets.
Between November 1 and January 16 (in 2024, January 15 is a federal holiday. As a result, enrollees will have until midnight to enroll in coverage on January 16 – 5 AM EST on January 17), enrollees can enroll in a Marketplace health insurance plan. Those who have been disenrolled from Medicaid during the unwinding are eligible for financial assistance for a Marketplace plan and can review FAQs on switching from Medicaid to private health insurance. To reduce gaps in coverage, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created an unwinding special enrollment period, in which consumers may apply for Marketplace coverage at any time until July 31, 2024.
We are now in the 11th year of the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period! This year’s open enrollment will be experiencing changes, noted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, as the Medicaid Unwinding continues. These changes include an increase in premiums due to inflation, increased insurer participation, changes in eligibility requirements for state-level policies, increased time in submitting proof of income, federal Marketplace health plans will officially not be allowed to terminate coverage for young adult dependents mid-year on their 26th birthday and instead will have coverage through the end of the calendar year, special enrollment periods for Medicaid disenrollment, and new tax credit opportunities.
As of November 1, over 9.5 million Medicaid enrollees have lost coverage, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. 35% of those who completed the renewal process were disenrolled and 16.7 million enrollees were able to qualify for renewed coverage. The large range of disenrollment rates in each state varies, with the highest of 66% being in Texas and the lowest of 11% in Illinois. Out of all states with available data, 72% of all those disenrolled were due to procedural reasons. As the open enrollment period approaches, those who are no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage can apply for a Marketplace plan via HealthCare.gov.
While Marketplace coverage continues to be an option for those who were disenrolled from Medicaid during the continuous unwinding, challenges have begun to arise. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 35% of those with Marketplace coverage found it difficult to find a plan that meets their needs, citing option overload, difficult comparisons, and unclear transition rules. This reiterates the importance of Navigators in assisting enrollees in obtaining healthcare coverage during this open enrollment period.
The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families has been tracking Medicaid enrollment and found that enrollment losses were over two million for children and three million for adults. This data is most likely an underestimate, as states report unwinding data at different times, with more disenrolled people experiencing gaps in coverage.
Archives of our weekly updates are available on the NDNRC website.