By Kathryn Mayer
The majority of those who enrolled in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
plans through the exchanges will be auto-enrolled in the same health plan they selected in 2014 this coming enrollment period, as well as receive the same subsidies, if applicable, the administration said Thursday.
The rule was proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“As we plan for open enrollment in year two and continue to build a sustainable long-term system, we are committed to simplifying the experience for consumers
by allowing auto-enrollment,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a news release. “We are working to streamline the process for consumers wishing to remain in their current plan.”
The new option may alleviate some of the technical difficulties that have plagued HealthCare.gov during the tumultuous first year of enrollment, as well as give the administration a head start on the increasing number of Americans getting coverage under the law.
The number of PPACA enrollments is expected to grow significantly in the next open enrollment period. Technology firm Healthcare.com estimates that 12-16 million people will enroll in plans under PPACA in 2015, up from 8 million who enrolled in 2014.
HHS noted that about 88 percent of employees receiving coverage through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program don’t wish to change plans and are instead auto-enrolled in their current plan with updated premiums and benefits.
Consumers who are automatically re-enrolled in PPACA plans will still have the option of changing plans during open enrollment, which runs Nov. 15 through Feb. 15, according to the rule. Enrollees also can return to the system to report life changes.
Even if someone is no longer eligible for a subsidy, they will still be auto-enrolled in their current plan, just without a tax credit, HHS said. State-based exchanges may also take this approach, HHS said, or may propose an alternative.
Under the rule, “consumers in the federally-facilitated marketplace will receive notices from the Marketplace informing them how to update their information to get a tailored and updated tax credit that keeps up with any income changes,” HHS said in its press release. "Consumers will receive information from their health insurance company about the premium and the amount they are eligible to save on their monthly bill close to the beginning of the open enrollment period, when they will be able to take action should they choose to do so.”
Originally published on BenefitsPro.com