New Virginia SCC programs will boost state-based insurance marketplace

Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC) will invest additional American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds — a total of $500,000 — to improve coordination between SCC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS). The funding is part of a $20 million nationwide grant the Biden Administration announced last Friday, ahead of the 2022 Open Enrollment Period starting Nov. 1. 

 

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The funding will support consumer education and outreach programs, with a focus on implementing ARPA and determining eligibility and enrollment in the state-based marketplace. 

SCC also proposed a marketplace analysis of Medicaid eligibility and enrollment metrics to predict the impact of ARPA implementation and the end of the public health emergency. This may include Medicaid beneficiaries moving to qualified health plans (QHPs) and changes to premiums in the individual market. 

SCC said the programs have a target audience.

“The SCC consumer education and outreach program updates will include a specific emphasis on reaching the geographic areas of the state with higher uninsured rates, and individuals and families most likely to be affected when the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.”

In July, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the federal Public Health Emergency Declaration due to the pandemic, which currently prevents disenrollment from Medicaid. However, without another renewal, some beneficiaries could lose coverage due to income eligibility for relocation in 2022.

Prior to the grant announcement, SCC also shared an update on its creation of a Commonwealth Health Reinsurance Program (CHRP), which aims to decrease premiums in the individual market. 

This program requires federal approval through a State Innovation Waiver. The waiver would reimburse insurance carriers’ claims for some beneficiaries with high annual costs. The programs would also receive state funding through the Virginia General Assembly.

SCC is currently drafting its application for the waiver, which will be available for review and comment by Oct. 1, 2021. SCC will host two public hearings on Oct. 14 to discuss the program (at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. EST). Members of the public may pre-register for oral comments by Oct. 12, or submit written comments by Nov. 1. 

SCC also released guidance for Virginians to review and update their health coverage. In the announcement, Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott White encouraged families to ensure their coverage stays up-to-date in the event of a birth, divorce, job loss, or other life circumstances. 

“When considering your family’s financial future, review your existing financial resources, debts and other liabilities, as well as your family’s needs and goals. Understand the different types of life insurance and shop around to compare prices and coverage.”

SCC encourages Virginians to contact the Bureau of Insurance with any questions at 804-371-9741 or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560, and to consult the free Virginia Life Insurance Consumer Guide. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners also offers a free Life Insurance Policy Locator Service.