Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2019. The final rule will mitigate the harmful impacts of Obamacare and empower states to regulate their insurance market. The rule will do this by advancing the Administration’s goals to increase state flexibility, improve affordability, strengthen program integrity, empower consumers, promote stability, and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Because Peter did not have health insurance in the last 60 days, he technically doesn’t qualify to enroll in a health plan in California. But when Peter moves out to California, his job has not started and he has no monthly income, he is just living off of his savings until the job starts in early summer. Because Peter has no monthly income, he qualifies for MAGI Medi-Cal.
While it may seem like Covered California is big brother looking over your shoulder or studying your tax return in a darken closet with the flash light, they aren’t. They are able to let their computer software check discreet pieces of data that relate to your eligibility for health insurance and any premium tax credit. But no one Covered California is making any decisions on eligibility or tax credits for the past, present, or future, based on reviewing your tax return. They just don’t have access to it.
Once the document has been uploaded it will show up in the Documents & Correspondence table. You then want to go to the Action column, click on the drop down menu Select One, and select Submit as Verification Document. This will bring up a popup window (make sure you’re the popup blocker of your web browser is disabled) where you can select the household member, the document category, and the type of document being uploaded. Then click Submit.
For a single adult applying through Covered California, the monthly income must be greater than 138% of the Federal Poverty Level ($1,397 monthly, $16,754 annually) in order to qualify for private health insurance with the premium tax credit subsidy. If the individual or household is below 138% of the FPL, they will be deemed eligible for Medi-Cal.
A significant drop in household income does not qualify you to apply to Covered California for the tax credit subsidy to lower your monthly health insurance premium. If you are already in Covered California, you can report a change of income and then select a different health plan.
Perhaps the most difficult part of the Covered California application for the consumer is creating a password. The rules are very strict and have not always been adequately explained. Covered California has included more information to help consumers create a password when they have to reset it. The biggest complaint after the password has been rejected is that the system tells the consumer that the pass word cannot contain a dictionary word. You would be amazed at how many two letter combinations actually are words found in a dictionary. Hint: don’t put two letters together when creating a password. Always have letters separated by a number or special character.
In December, during the Open Enrollment Period, she enrolled in the previous health plan for the 2018 year. The health plan took her first month’s premium payment, applied it to her past due balance, and then terminated her coverage at Covered California. Under the new rules the health plan is within their rights to take her money and deny her coverage for 2018.
A glaring deficiency in the report is the failure to attribute any decline in enrollments, either on the federal level or at Covered California, to an improving economy. Unemployment is at record low percentages and more people are working for employers who offer group health plans. Covered California’s own small group plans have seen increased enrollment since its inception in 2014 and their budget report estimates continued enrollment growth.