Below are a few CMS updates for agents and brokers planning to sell ACA plans for 2021. These updates were released by the organization on October 19, 2020.
On October 19, CMS released a report showing how the recent trend of lower premiums will continue into plan year 2021. Average premiums for the benchmark plan, which is the second-lowest-cost silver plan, dropped 2 percent prior to the upcoming Open Enrollment Period. The number of companies participating in the HealthCare.gov Marketplace has also gone up. Compared to this time last year, 22 more issuers plan to participate, which tops the charts at 181 total insurers on the Marketplace. This drop in price and rise in participating insurance companies will allow consumers a wider variety of plans to choose from at more affordable rates.
During open enrollment, the web traffic on HealthCare.gov drastically increases as hundreds of thousands of ACA-certified agents work to enroll their clients in new health plans in the short month-and-a-half window. Because of this heavy traffic flow, CMS establishes scheduled maintenance windows each year to make updates, resolve issues, and ensure that the site is running smoothly for agents and brokers. For 2021, the scheduled HealthCare.gov maintenance periods will be early morning on Sunday, November 1, and from 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Sunday except for November 1 and December 13. Last year, CMS set aside 72 hours for site upkeep but only used 24.5, so it is likely that these periods will be shorter than anticipated.
As of October 2, 2020, 91 percent of U.S. Counties are served by more than one HealthCare.gov insurance plan provider. 42 percent of counties are served by two insurers, while a whopping 48 percent are served by three or more carriers. These numbers have increased substantially, as 22 new carriers have been added to the national Marketplace.
Between 2016 and 2019, the number of individuals with health plans who did not qualify for government subsidies dropped a total of 45 percent. During the same period, the number of subsidized plans remained stable, which suggests that the high premiums are proving insurmountable for many middle-class Americans without government tax credits. It also suggests, however, that the healthcare market is stabilizing, overall.
See also: “Trends in Subsidized and Unsubsidized Enrollment October 9, 2020” from CMS
We hope this information on the list of CMS updates is helpful to you.
Empower Brokerage is dedicated to helping you educate your clients on the insurance they need and staying on top of their health. Whether it’s through webinar training, one-on-one calls, seminars, or marketing plans. We want you to be successful. Give us a call if you have any questions at 888-539-1633.
Originally from the snow-capped Rockies, Macee moved to Texas in 2016 to pursue an undergraduate degree in Strategic Communication. She currently serves as a writer and editor for Empower Brokerage, as well as the marketing manager for Preferred Senior Advisors. Macee is also working on her Master’s degree in management, and hopes to inspire others with her passion for telling stories through varied digital and print marketing efforts.