If anything grabbed more attention, anguish, and aversion than the failures of the federal online marketplace last year, it was the cancellation of policies that did not meet the requirements of Affordable Care Act. The cancellations, a thorn in the side of the administration, came at the most inopportune time – when the officials were struggling with a marketplace that was marred by technical glitches, lack of interest, and opposition’s constant badgering into acquiescence. Unfortunately, the impact of these cancellations was nothing less than debilitating, with nearly 4.7 million people losing health insurance and coming under the uninsured domain.
The biggest issue surrounding the cancellation was that the President assured the American public – over and over – that it wouldn’t happen. Speech and speech has him (or an administration official) stating, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” — some counters showing 37 instances of this phrase. . On March 5, the administration extended the already-extended provision to let people keep their policies that don’t meet ACA requirements by two years. Under this new policy, people can renew policies in 2016, meaning policies would be in effect until 2017.
CMS also released the “Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2015 Final Rule,” here’s are some of the items the announcement contained:
a) The 2015 open enrollment period begins on November 15, 2014 and runs through February 15, 2015 – allowing for additional time for all involved parties.
b) A new maximum out-of-pocket expense level has been set. Annual deductibles and copayments cannot exceed $6,600 for individuals and $13,200 for families.
c) The annual reinsurance contribution rate has been modified. Health insurance companies and certain self-insured group health plans must pay $63 per enrollee for 2014. The fee will lessen in 2015 to $44 per enrollee.
d) Extension of Marketplace timeline. States now have more time to transition to a state-based exchange after 2014. The date on which a state must have an approved or conditionally approved blueprint in place for the following year have been moved from January 1 to June 15.