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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

CMS Outlines New Measures to Streamline 2015 Coverage Renewal Process

October 16, 2014 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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In a press release issued this week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) highlighted new measures the agency has undertaken to expedite and improve the re-enrollment of existing marketplace enrollees for coverage effective next year.

In advance of the Open Enrollment period for health insurance marketplace coverage (beginning Nov. 15), this week CMS began mailing consumers (and delivering via consumers’ accounts) notices explaining the 2015 coverage renewal process, including ways for consumers to update their coverage application and determine eligibility for financial assistance.

To streamline the re-enrollment process, CMS notes that “when consumers return to starting on November 15 and initiate their 2015 application, 90 percent of their online application will already be filled out or pre-populated.” CMS also highlights existing in-person assister resources – as well as the influx of an additional 1,000 call center representatives – to help consumers navigate the 2015 marketplace coverage process.

CMS notes that it is still important for consumers to return to to update their application to assess any applicable changes impacting premiums, cost-sharing, and benefits. “[C]onsumers [who] do not return to the Marketplace to update their application…will [generally] be auto-enrolled in the same plan – with the same amount of advance payment of the premium tax credit and same cost-sharing reductions – as the 2014 plan year.”

However, CMS confirms that these individuals will have an opportunity to “change plans during open enrollment through February 15, with coverage in their new plan starting on the first day of the next or second month depending on when they enroll.” Roughly 25% more health plan issuers are expected to offer coverage in the marketplace next year, infusing greater price competition into the marketplace.

CMS has also released a consumer-friendly publication – “5 Steps to Staying Covered” – outlining this coverage renewal information.