August 15, 2014

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CMS Has Been Busy
HHS Senior Leadership Keeps Growing
Large Employers Like Skinny Plans
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CMS Has Been Busy

It may be the dog days of summer, but our friends at CMS are still busy making announcements and putting out newsletters. The good news is that some of their latest work has been on items that have been on NAHU's wish list for some time. 

First of all, this week, a somewhat controversial announcement was made, stating that individuals who have been contacted by CMS about citizenship verification and have not yet responded must act now and submit supporting documents by September 5 or their Marketplace coverage will be terminated on September 30. While some are upset by this news, from NAHU's perspective, the announcement contained some really important information requested by many of our agents.

NAHU had been asked by CMS about this issue earlier in the summer. We surveyed agents and provided information our members reported independently. Our members reported that if they had a client who had been asked for additional citizenship verification information, they had provided it but received no response from CMS. Our members and their clients were worried that their clients’ coverage would be cancelled simply because their submitted verification data still hadn't been reviewed. Accordingly, NAHU asked CMS for clarification that individuals who have already submitted documentation do not have to worry about the cancellation date. This week's announcement provides the confirmation NAHU members have requested.

Furthermore, NAHU has requested that if an individual still needs to verify citizenship information with CMS and used an agent, then the agent be informed about the outstanding need for information too so that they can provide additional outreach to their clients. CMS is currently verifying if agents can receive such information. 

Another, quieter announcement came out last week, and it was also to create something specifically asked for by NAHU. On August 4, the agency released new guidance creating two new special enrollment periods identified as necessary by our association.    

Now, if you were incorrectly referred to Medicaid by the marketplace during a special enrollment period, you get a new SEP. Also, if you live in a state that did not expand Medicaid and you previously were ineligible for subsidized marketplace coverage because your income was too low but now it has increased, you get a new SEP too. 

Finally, yesterday CMS launched its inaugural issue of News for Agents and Brokers, an electronic source of information for Federally Facilitated Marketplace-certified agents and brokers. A separate newsletter for agents and brokers to get regular, relevant marketplace updates has been something we've been asking for over the course of many, many months, and it has finally come to fruition! 

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