Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Extends Open Registration Period, Launches Initiatives to Expand Access to Health Coverage Nationwide

Baltimore, Maryland, September 18 – The US Department of Health and Social service centers for Medicare and Medicaid services issued the following press release on September 17, 2021:

The Biden-Harris administration, through the Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers (CMS), is taking a number of steps that will make it easier for Americans to purchase affordable, quality health coverage and reduce health disparities in communities across the country. Starting this year, consumers will have an additional 30 days to review and choose their health plans through open enrollment, which will run from November 1, 2021 through January 15, 2022, at HealthCare.gov. CMS also extends the services provided by Federal government facilitated market Browsers (FFM): Experts who help consumers, especially those in underserved communities, understand their benefits and rights, review options, and sign up for Marketplace coverage. In addition, CMS will relaunch its “Champions for Coverage” program. The program currently includes more than 1,000 local organizations that are active in awareness raising and education on the Health insurance market and how consumers can purchase coverage through HealthCare.gov, Medicaid or the Children’s health insurance program (CHIP).

“We continue to respond to the American public’s clear call for affordable and accessible care,” said the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris administration has already made historic investments to help connect communities to coverage. By continuing to build a political framework that can sustain this momentum, we are also rebuilding better for communities in need. “

“Health care is a basic human right, and the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to making health coverage more accessible than ever. With the Affordable Care Act and the American Rescue Plan, the president has brought affordable health coverage to millions of people, many of whom are now getting insurance for the first time, ”said CMS administrator. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Today’s action to extend the open enrollment period by one month, continue our investment in local healthcare navigators, and establish a special enrollment period for many low-income individuals. Income once again demonstrates our commitment to connecting families to coverage. “

Today’s Final Rule on Payment Notice 2022 expands Navigator’s services to help reduce health disparities. FFM Navigators will now provide consumers with information and assistance on certain post-registration topics, such as the market eligibility appeal process and market-related components of the premium tax credits reconciliation. CMS will support greater awareness and engagement through modest increases in marketplace issuer user fee rates. All 2022 market user fee rates remain lower than in 2021, which should help keep premiums low. Additionally, four times as many browsers – 1,500 in total – will be available to consumers using HealthCare.gov for plan year 2022 thanks to $ 80 million in grants awarded earlier this year by CMS.

To strengthen these efforts, CMS will link this work to the Champions for Coverage program, a community-based initiative to raise awareness of open enrollment with educational resources and “event in a box” material. Organizations can learn more about how to become Coverage Champions by visiting: https://marketplace.cms.gov/technical-assistance-resources/assister-programs/champion.

“We invite national and local organizations representing uninsured communities to join the Biden-Harris Administration as we strive to share the peace of mind that comes with health coverage, ”observed Administrator Brooks-LaSure. “The coverage champions know their community better. CMS is committed to listening and working with our community partners as we embark on our strongest awareness and engagement campaign in agency history. “

In addition to extending the open registration period and supporting the work of browsers, CMS has established a new special monthly registration period targeting certain low-income people in marketplaces through HealthCare.gov. This opportunity provides the vast majority of eligible consumers with one or more options to sign up for free or very low cost plans through the provisions of the American Rescue Plan.

The arrangements CMS announced today also include important flexibilities for state partners. For example, state marketplaces with their own eligibility and registration platforms will be able to set their own annual end dates for the open registration period, as long as these dates are the same or later. December 15, 2021. More details on these and other elements of the 2022 payment advice can be found in the fact sheet available here: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/patient-protection-and -affordable-care-act- update-of-payment-settings-section-1332-waiver.

Today’s final rule “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Updates to Payment Parameters, Section 1332 Waiver Implementing Regulations and Improving Health Insurance Markets for 2022 and Beyond ”completes the rule making process for Payment Notice 2022, which included parts 1 and 2 published on January 19 and May 5, 2021, respectively. To view the rule released today, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/cms-9906-f-nbpp-webposting-version.pdf

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