Practice Economics

HHS proposes auto-enrollment for 2015 ACA plans


Federal health officials propose to automatically reenroll consumers in Affordable Care Act health plans for 2015 if they purchased coverage through the federally run marketplace earlier this year.

The auto-enrollment feature is part of an effort by the Health & Human Services department to make the ACA’s second open enrollment period run more smoothly than the first.

Feds hope the newly-proposed auto-enrollment feature will help make purchasing health coverage easier for consumers.

The auto-enrollment feature puts the federal marketplace in line with the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and many employer-sponsored plans. Close to 90% of federal employees who use the FEHBP system don’t switch plans each year, but instead auto-enroll in their current plan with updated premiums and benefits, according to HHS.

Under the proposed rule, released on June 26, the agency will automatically reenroll consumers in the same plan they had in 2014. If that plan is unavailable, the marketplace will select a similar plan.

During the open enrollment period this fall, consumers who are happy with the selected plan won’t have to make new selections. But they have the option to select a different plan.

The proposed rule notes, however, that even if consumers are auto-enrolled, they may need to provide updated income information to continue to receive a tax credit to subsidize their insurance premiums.

State-run marketplaces can follow the federal government’s lead or propose an alternative, according to HHS.

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