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Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Coverage to Care: A New CMS Initiative

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Adam Swanson

Senior Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

With 7.5 million Americans now insured through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges, many of the newly covered find themselves navigating the world of provider networks, cost-sharing, and other complexities of health insurance for the first time. To ensure enrollees understand the features and unique benefits of insurance coverage obtained through the Health Insurance […]

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Two Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Legality of Federal Insurance Subsidies

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Tuesday, two appeals courts issued conflicting decisions on a central piece of the Affordable Care Act: the availability of federal insurance subsidies to help lower-income Americans purchase insurance in their state’s health insurance exchange.

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HHS Proposal Allows for Auto-Reenrollment in Exchange Plans

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight has released a proposed rule and guidance specifying procedures for health insurance exchange enrollees to remain auto-enrolled in the same plan for the 2015 open enrollment period. While the guidance is intended to ease the process of re-enrollment, some consumer groups have cautioned that unwitting consumers could experience premium rate or benefit changes if they do not receive adequate information about their reenrollment.

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Insurance Marketplaces’ Silver Plans Most Popular, $69 Average Premium

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Mohini Venkatesh

, National Council for Behavioral Health

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finds that people who selected silver plans, the most popular plan type in the federal Marketplace, with tax credits paid an average premium of $69 per month. In the federal Marketplace, 69 percent of enrollees who selected Marketplace plans with tax credits had […]

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ACA Enrollment Hits 8 Million, Says President Obama

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Today, in a speech delivered in the White House briefing room, President Barack Obama announced that 8 million people have signed up for private insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). President Obama argued in his remarks that the success of the law’s inaugural open enrollment period should mark the end of efforts to repeal the health reform law. Still, the available data leave many questions unanswered, including the number of enrollees who have actually paid their premiums and the number who were previously uninsured.

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Share Your Experiences with Parity and Health Reform Rollout

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Coalition for Whole Health (CWH), of which the National Council is a member, is currently running a survey on the implementation and oversight of the Affordable Care Act and Parity. The survey consists of 16 questions and should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. This survey is critical to our field, as the information provided will help ensure that people around the country have access to mental health and substance use disorder care.

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ACA Health Insurance Enrollment Hits 7.1 Million

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The White House this week announced that enrollment in the state and federal health insurance exchanges surpassed 7 million upon the end of the open enrollment period Monday. The announcement surprised critics of the Affordable Care Act and even some of its supporters, who predicted that the website’s disastrous rollout last October portended weak enrollment.

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Countdown: 10 Days to End of Open Enrollment

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

With the March 31st enrollment deadline fast approaching, the Obama Administration this week reported that the number of individuals enrolled through the state and federal marketplaces has surged to 5 million. Officials hope that a massive wave of enrollments will bring the total to 6 million by the end of open enrollment.

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Health Insurance Enrollment Rises in February as Uninsured Rate Drops

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Enrollment in the state and federal health insurance marketplaces slowed slightly in February even as a new Gallup poll showed a drop in the uninsured rate for the second consecutive month.

Data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week showed that 942,000 Americans signed up for health coverage through the state and federal marketplaces in February, a number that was slightly down from January selections (1.15 million).

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25 Days Left Until End of Open Enrollment; Send Us Your Feedback!

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The open enrollment period for health insurance plans sold on the state and federal Marketplaces is set to end on March 31. The Obama Administration this week announced that this deadline would not be extended to accommodate consumers who had difficulty accessing the healthcare.gov site during its first troubled month.

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Health Insurance Marketplaces Enroll 3.3 Million

February 19, 2014 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced that 1.1 million Americans enrolled in private health insurance coverage through the state and federal marketplaces during the month of January, surpassing the Administration’s goal for the month.

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Network Adequacy Standards Strengthened for Plan Year 2015

February 6, 2014 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Health plans participating in federally facilitated insurance exchanges may be subject to a higher standard of “network adequacy” in 2015 than prior years, according to draft guidance from the federal agency tasked with overseeing the exchanges.

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Obama Addresses ACA Enrollment in State of the Union; Says 9 Million Covered

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

President Obama spoke at length about his signature health law in this week’s State of the Union address, touting its consumer protections and putting in a plug for Americans to enroll in coverage.

More than nine million Americans have enrolled in health coverage through Medicaid or the exchanges since the start of open ACA enrollment on October 1, said Obama. This includes more than 3 million who have signed up on the exchanges and 6.3 million enrolled in Medicaid.

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White House Revises Coverage Mandate for People with Canceled Plans

January 2, 2014 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, the Obama Administration announced a temporary reprieve for consumers whose health plans have been canceled because they do not meet minimum coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act. Under the new rules, consumers affected by cancellations will be allowed to avoid the law’s individual mandate penalty next year by purchasing catastrophic coverage (in lieu of a more expensive “qualified plan”) and claiming a “hardship exemption.”

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Affordable Care Act Health Coverage Begins for More than 2 Million Americans

January 2, 2014 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

As the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansions went into effect yesterday, more than 2 million people had signed up for health coverage through the federal and state insurance marketplaces, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Newly released CMS figures show that 1.6 million Americans signed up for coverage in December, with 975,000 of those enrolling through the federal Healthcare.gov site. That brings the total number of enrollees to about 2.1 million.

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Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Rises in November

December 17, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

After a troubled start in October, enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces rose substantially in November. The latest figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services show that more than 250,000 U.S. residents selected a health plan through the marketplaces in November, compared with just over 106,000 who had selected their plan in October.

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Online Healthcare Enrollment for Small Business Delayed by One Year

December 5, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last Wednesday, the White House delayed the launch of its online small business marketplace by one year. Companies with fewer than 50 employees were slated to begin buying coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), an online federal exchange, this month. Agency officials said the latest delay reflected the Administration’s priority on getting the HealthCare.gov website to work for individual customers.

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Obama Proposes Fix Allowing Consumers to Temporarily Keep Canceled Plans

November 21, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Responding to backlash over insurance plan cancellation notices millions of Americans have received in recent weeks, President Obama announced a fix to ensure Americans who like their insurance can keep it through 2014.

Obama’s proposal would allow insurers who currently offer plans in the individual market—many of whom have sent cancellation letters in recent weeks—to continuing offering their plans into 2014, even if those plans do not meet the Affordable Care Act’s minimum coverage standards.

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Consumers Look to “Catastrophic Plans” for Alternative to Canceled Policies

November 20, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Adam Swanson

Senior Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Obama Administration continues to weather a storm of public criticism for the insurance plan cancelation notices that millions of Americans have received in recent weeks. Insurance companies have informed these policy holders that their plans are being canceled because the plans do not meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although […]

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Low Enrollment Numbers Reflect Insurance Marketplaces’ Rocky Start

November 14, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Obama Administration this week released enrollment numbers for the first month that the health insurance marketplaces have been open for business. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report, 106,000 individuals had selected a plan through the marketplaces as of November 2. These numbers reflect people who applied and chose a plan, but some may not have paid for their coverage yet.

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