Friday, March 28, 2014

Special Enrollment Period and Immigrants and other last minute instructions

1) From: National Immigration Law Center

On March 26, HHS released guidance which clarifies that many consumers who were unable to enroll through the marketplace before the March 31 deadline are eligible for a special enrollment period (SEP). The SEP gives qualifying consumers additional time to get health coverage without being assessed a penalty. To be eligible for the SEP, the consumer must have experienced one of the barriers identified in the guidance. These barriers include experiencing errors related to immigration status and being transferred between the marketplace and state Medicaid/CHIP agency. The additional time available to apply depends on the specific barrier and when it is resolved.

REMINDERS: Enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP is open year round; there is no March 31 deadline for enrollment. In addition, people who have a change in circumstances, such as they’ve just had a baby or adopted a child or their employment status has changed, are eligible for an SEP following such an event.

We want to hear from you!

Have barriers related to immigration status caused you or someone you know to have difficulty obtaining health coverage through a state or federal health care marketplace ? Please share your story with NILC by completing and submitting the online form at

2)  From Maryland Health Connection

The Consumer Support Center (1-855-642-8572) has extended hours during open enrollment as follows.
Friday, March 28 - Sunday, March 30: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Monday, March 31: 8 a.m. to Midnight
The Board of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) also adopted a plan this month to assist individuals attempting to enroll before March 31. Consumers who call a new hotline at 1-800-396-1961, or are referred from the call center (1-855-642-8572), will be able to let Maryland Health Connection know that they have started an application but have been unable to complete it. All Marylanders who call by March 31 will receive a call and special assistance for enrollment for coverage that begins on May 1, 2014. All four carriers offering medical plans in the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange are participating.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Reaching out to the Latino population

As shared earlier today via email, President Obama held a live Latino town hall this morning. Glad to see this as it is very timely. Especially given that there has been limited outreach to them so far.  Hope it has an impact.  I suspect there will be quite a bit of coverage of this event.  I certainly did as much as I could to spread the word on this event.  I only learned of it at 9 a.m. this morning. 

Watched the show. Understand some folks had problems.  A key point made is that information obtained re undocumented immigrants will not be shared with immigration authorities.'s website is working for most Spanish speakers. Not so in Maryland, not up yet.

Here are two articles on the show

Obama Urges Latinos To Sign Up For Insurance Now, Warns Against Logjams, reports:

WaPo: Obama placed on defensive in appearance before Latino groups

This article by the Post overstates in my opinion what went on in the show.  While there was a brief exchange on deportation, most of the show discussed the advantages of healthcare for Latinos and other aspects of enrolling.  

Insurers Take The Lead To Reach Florida Latinos

Groups, Insurers, Officials Mobilize For Health Law Enrollment Push

Obamacare’s under-the-radar sales push

HHS Doesn't Know How Many Uninsured Are Signing Up for Obamacare

Hillary Clinton: Obamacare too important to turn back

Brief Examines Key Issues Raised by Supreme Court Cases on ACA’s Contraceptive Coverage

o   FIFTY ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT Office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)  …

This is a very useful list.   

Health insurance marketplaces signing up few uninsured Americans, surveys say

In Health Care, Choice Is Overrated

New Health Affairs Policy Brief: Geographic Variation in Medicare Spending

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Health exchange mulling scenarios for how to move beyond troubled site +

Health exchange mulling scenarios for how to move beyond troubled site 

Which options do you think are best for Maryland to pursue.  I do not feel I know enough.  Connecticut tie in sounds good.  Sure hope they make a good decision on this and bring in some experts to advise.  Healthsherpa is one not mentioned in this article.  My guess is that Steve Morse could do a good job.  

Fear Mongering With Medicare

New Health Fix Offers Subsidies for Insurance Policies Bought Outside Exchanges

Latest Enrollment HHS Info 
While the title says January, this article gives some good overall stats

Maryland Enrollment Fairs in March 
Please spread the word.  

NBC News: Tax Preparers Offer New Service -- Signing You Up For Obamacare

USA Today: Finding Consensus On 5 Ways To Improve ACA

Revisions Weighed to Model Law on Adequacy of Provider Networks 

New Health Fix Offers Subsidies For Insurance Policies Bought Outside Exchanges