Consumers Should Resist the Urge to Do Nothing and Renew Coverage through the Federal Marketplace

By Tricia Brooks, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families

When enrollment reopens in the health insurance marketplaces on Saturday, the 7-8 million current enrollees will have an opportunity to make sure they get the right amount of financial assistance and are enrolled in a plan that best fits their needs for 2015. This new brief outlines the process for consumers in the 37 states that use the federal marketplace for eligibility and enrollment. It also includes easy-to-follow graphics that explain the various aspects of the renewal process.

Consumers are strongly encouraged to contact the marketplace, online at healthcare.gov or through the call center at 1-800-318-2596, to update their applications and shop to compare the growing number of plan choices. However, if consumers don’t take action, most will continue receiving their 2014 level of premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies, and be auto-renewed in the same plan, if available.

The brief explains why it is in a consumer’s best interest to resist the urge to do nothing. First of all, the only way for consumers to get a fresh eligibility determination based on all of the factors that influence financial assistance is to update their application. Secondly, there are a bunch of new insurers (57 to be exact) offering new plans in various areas across the 37 states served by the federal marketplace. Consumers may be able to get a plan that both offers better value and more closely meets their needs.

Keep in mind there are changes in which states are using the federal marketplace. Consumers in Idaho will now manage their coverage through yourhealthidaho.org. Consumers in Nevada and Oregon are moving to the federal marketplace and must set up an account and apply through the federal marketplace as a new applicant.

Want to know more about how the state-based marketplaces are approaching renewal? Colleagues at the Georgetown Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR) will be releasing a new report on that very topic soon.

Editor’s Note: This is a lightly edited version of the post that originally was published on the Center for Children and Families’ Say Ahhh! Blog.

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