California: Marketplace Adopts Consumer Outreach Lessons Learned From the 2014 Open Enrollment Period
Covered California announced changes they plan to adopt in their outreach efforts in anticipation of this year’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP) based on a newly released report, “Covered California Open Enrollment 2013-2014: Lessons Learned,” commissioned by the Marketplace. Among other changes identified in a Covered California press release, Covered California will start OEP with more than double the number of Service Center representatives, having learned that last year’s volume of consumer interest exceeded expectations. Additionally, Covered California will expand language services and operating hours of the Service Center.
Covered California began sending renewal process notices to approximately 1.1 million consumers who are renewing coverage for the 2015 Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Consumers who complete the renewal process will receive information from their insurer in December regarding coverage effective January 1, 2015, while consumers who take no action will be renewed into their existing plan.
MNsure's board presented its State-based Marketplace's recommended annual budget for FY 2015 and 2016, which indicates an increase in expected premium revenue but a decrease in federal CCIIO grants. Overall, both the total resources and total expenditures are expected to decrease compared with 2014. In addition, MNsure's board reported 355,776 total enrollments as of October 14, 2014.
A draft report authored by a “turnaround” consultant hired to assist with Oregon's Marketplace, Hamstreet & Associates, was released to the public following an inquiry by The Oregonian. The report, which covers the period from April through August of 2014, details several challenges facing the Marketplace, including lack of accountability, poor technology, weak financial controls and a processing backlog, among others.
Officials from Cover Oregon identified an error in the formula that calculated financial assistance for individuals purchasing coverage on the Marketplace. The error, which overestimates the amount of tax credits for which individuals are eligible, is estimated to affect several thousand Oregonians. According to an analysis by ECONorthwest, an economic and financial consulting company, the average amount by which a tax credit was overestimated was $5.46 per month, which would require reconciliation upon tax filing.
Hired by Vermont in June, the technology firm Optum will receive an additional $14.3 million for its continued work on the Vermont Health Connect Marketplace, the Vermont Digger reports. Optum was hired to assist the State in preparing for the increased website activity anticipated to accompany the start of open enrollment on November 15. The contract currently runs through the end of January 2015.
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Policy Committee discussed the option to implement premium aggregation in the individual marketplace beginning in 2016, a decision that will be made following a full cost-benefit analysis. Additionally, the committee reviewed the Marketplace's 2015 open enrollment marketing and outreach strategy, which will build on the successful strategies employed during 2014 open enrollment and will add "pop-up" enrollment events at malls, Spanish-language television advertising and a partnership with the School Nurse Association of Washington.