Privacy and Shopping Upgrades Planned for HealthCare.gov

HealthCare.gov is expected to have significant privacy and shopping enhancements for the next open enrollment period beginning on November 1, including a new tool called a privacy manager that allows consumers to opt in or out of third-party advertising, analytics, and social media on HealthCare.gov, Marketplace CEO Kevin Counihan announced last week. The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight also announced support for the “Do Not Track” browser setting, a feature used in web browsers to request web applications disable either their tracking or third-party web tracking. Consumers can also expect to use enhanced plan shopping tools, as reported by the Associated Press, including one that enables consumers to see if their preferred providers and medications are covered by a plan they are considering. Consumers will also be able to obtain an estimate of total expected out-of-pocket costs, including cost sharing for services such as office visits.

Issuers Will Receive 2015 Reinsurance Payments Early

CMS announced that it will make early payments under the reinsurance program for 2015 to health insurance issuers of eligible Qualified Health Plans (QHP). Reinsurance funds are intended to provide protection against claims uncertainty for the first three years of the Marketplace program. CMS is using experience from loading claims last year combined with a surplus of reinsurance funds from 2014 and additional collections for the 2015 benefit year to provide the payment early. The early payment will be a partial payment made in March 2016 at a coinsurance rate of 25%. The final coinsurance rate, which is estimated to be 50%, will be calculated based on total collections and requests from issuers, and is expected to be announced in June 2016. Payments not made as part of the early payment will be made in late 2016. This follows last week’s announcement that QHP issuers will receive 12.6% of their requested risk corridor payments.