THANKFUL FOR COVERAGE DURING OPEN ENROLLMENT
With the Thanksgiving holiday next week, we will not be posting an NDNRC update. We will return on November 30th. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Open enrollment approaches its third week during the Thanksgiving holiday season! 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. This year’s open enrollment will be experiencing changes, noted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, as the Medicaid Unwinding continues.
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 during Open Enrollment from November 1 to January 16. 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.
A press release from the Center on Medicare and Medicaid Services highlighted the Biden-Harris Administration’s continuous efforts to increase maternal healthcare coverage, with 40 states offering a full year of Medicaid coverage after pregnancy. Research has shown that women with physical disabilities can have a higher risk of poor birth outcomes; continuous Medicaid coverage for those who are eligible could help lower these risks.
The Administration also announced next steps in ensuring communication needs for those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and people with disabilities. The Language Access Plan aims to release practical guidance, best practices, action steps, and metrics to measure changes being put in place. “Today’s new, strengthened Language Access Plan reaffirms our dedication to breaking down barriers across HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), promoting inclusivity of communication and making services accessible to everyone, and upholding the principles of equity and justice,” said Office for Civil Rights Director Melanie Fontes Rainer. The NDNRC plans to release a factsheet in late November on best practices for communication needs for Navigators assisting people with disabilities.
As of November 14, over 10.6 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 19.5 million enrollees were able to qualify for renewed coverage. The large range of disenrollment rates in each state varies, with the highest of 65% being in Texas and the lowest of 10% in Illinois. Out of all states with available data, 71% of all those disenrolled were due to procedural reasons. The open enrollment period will allow those who are no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage to apply for a Marketplace plan via HealthCare.gov.
States have put in major efforts to comply with federal ex-parte rules and address system glitches and procedural disenrollments but continue to face roadblocks during the Medicaid unwinding. Ways to resolve these problems would be to coordinate with state-based Marketplaces, use the reach and influence of managed care organizations and local consumer groups, learn from unwinding data, and help individuals re-enroll in the Marketplace during the open enrollment period.
A report by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families found that the unprecedented process of the Medicaid unwinding could cause the uninsured rate for children to increase. This report emphasized that the Continuous Coverage Protections during the public health emergency helped keep children insured. It is key for states to comply with federal rules and regulations to ensure that vulnerable populations, like children with disabilities, continue to retain coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
The CHIRblog released their weekly Navigator Guide FAQs for open enrollment; this week’s focuses on financial assistance that is available through the Marketplace. Topics include premium tax credits, income counted in determining eligibility, and information on cost-sharing. Additional factsheets and FAQs will be released throughout open enrollment.
Archives of our weekly updates are available on the NDNRC website.