Next week, Covered California will begin to prepare for its second open enrollment period by launching an advertising campaign aimed at encouraging residents to apply for first-time coverage or renew their current policies, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Covered California is the state's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.
Details of Enrollment Campaign
The $74 million ad campaign will run for the duration of the exchange's second enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15, 2015.
During the next enrollment period, Covered California officials are aiming to:
Details of Renewal Process
Consumers will be able to renew their exchange plans beginning on Oct. 1. However, individuals who want to change their coverage will have to wait until Nov. 15 to do so (Abelson, New York Times, 9/2).
Exchange policies will automatically be renewed by Dec. 15 if enrollees do not specify that they want to change plans, according to the Los Angeles Times. Beginning in mid-October, insurers will mail renewal notices that show a consumer's:
The initial notices will not include information about the enrollee's 2015 federal subsidy. However, updated notices with subsidy information will be mailed between Oct. 10 and Dec. 15, according to officials.
Advocates Urge Consumers To Shop for Better Coverage
Meanwhile, some consumer advocates say individuals should hold off on renewing their plans and search for better deals, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 9/2).
In July, Covered California officials announced that the average premium for health plans offered on the exchange will increase by an average of 4.2% for the coming year. The rates vary depending on region, but most will see slight increases (California Healthline, 8/1). Some insurers will raise premiums by more than 10%, but others are cutting rates to increase competition, according to theLos Angeles Times.
Rates are expected to be finalized by Sept. 30.
The rates will be reviewed by state regulators before being implemented officially (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 7/31).
The rates vary depending on region, but most will see slight increases:
All 10 insurers that participated in the state exchange during its first open enrollment period submitted bids and were approved to return in 2015, including:
Betsy Imholz, special projects director at Consumers Union, said, "We want to encourage people to shop first and not just default into a plan" (Los Angeles Times, 9/2).