With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) ninth open enrollment period (OEP) set to launch in less than a month, the ACA Marketplaces are seeing record enrollment numbers with more generous subsidies, new carrier competition, and a relatively stable rating environment. At the same time, there is uncertainty with the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and medical costs trending upward as the economy recovers, albeit at an uneven pace. These trends have made for a challenging rate review process in the 47 states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) that conduct their own ACA rate reviews of carrier-proposed rates using federal review standards. State announcements of 2022 rates have trickled out at a slower pace than in prior years, and it is likely that many states will not publish their approved rates until the beginning of open enrollment. As always, state rate results vary widely and, even within states, there often are substantial variations among carriers and across different regions in geographically diverse states. With these caveats, this expert perspective highlights some observations about the factors that are impacting rate changes this year and the kind of variations that exist among states.
Ten Considerations for States in Linking Medicaid and the Health Benefit Exchanges
Center for Health Care Strategies – Carolyn Ingram, Suzanne Gore and Shannon McMahon
An estimated 27 million people will gain coverage through Medicaid or private qualified health plans via the new health insurance exchanges once the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is fully implemented in 2014. It is estimated that a significant percentage of those obtaining coverage will have income fluctuations that will change their eligibility status between public and private coverage options offered through the exchanges. This brief, authored by the Center for Health Care Strategies, analyzes opportunities for linkages between public and private coverage, explaining that linkages should seek to streamline administration across programs and facilitate seamless transitions between programs. Continuity of benefits, providers and health plans is critical to ensuring seamless affordable coverage for exchange consumers. This brief outline an approach for states and continuity issues that should be considered while implementing ACA’s exchange and Medicaid expansion requirements.