Over the past year, we have seen the Affordable Care Act deliver on important milestones as we work to bring more accessible, affordable, quality health care to Americans. Since President Obama signed the law, we have held down health care spending growth to the slowest rate on record while the Affordable Care Act continues to provide millions more Americans with needed health coverage. On Friday, HHS released the latest Medicaid enrollment report, which shows even more great news: approximately 8.7 million additional Americans now have coverage through Medicaid and CHIP, many for the very first time. Medicaid enrollment grew to more than 67.9 million in August 2014, which shows nearly a 15 percent increase over the average monthly enrollment for July through September 2013.
This week, consumers will begin to receive notices from the Federally-facilitated Marketplace in the mail and in their HealthCare.gov accounts, explaining how to renew their coverage during Open Enrollment. In remarks Wednesday at the America’s Health Insurance Plans exchange conference, Marketplace CEO Kevin Counihan outlined the “5 Steps to Staying Covered” – to make it as simple as possible for consumers to choose the plan that best fits their needs and budgets. The consumer-tested 5 step process includes:
- Review: Plans change, people change – review your coverage and look for a letter from your plan about how your benefits and costs may change next year,
- Update: Starting November 15, log in and update your 2015 application – make sure your household income and other information is up-to-date for next year,
- Compare: Compare your current plan with other plans that are available in your area,
- Choose: Select the health plan that best fits your budget and health needs, and
- Enroll: The marketplace opens on November 15, make sure to review, update, compare and choose by December 15 to have any changes take effect on January 1. Contact your plan after you’ve enrolled and make sure you pay your first month’s premium.