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States with HIX Woes to Get Enrollment Relief

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2014

A move by CMS to tweak the public health insurance exchange rules grants a measure of relief to states where individuals have struggled to enroll because of faulty state exchange websites.

They are still looking at the fine print, but state officials are welcoming a decision by the federal government to ease public exchange enrollment for individuals in states with exchange website woes.

On Feb. 27, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a bulletin announcing the availability of advance payment of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions for individuals who have had trouble enrolling in states with troubled exchange websites.

The bulletin says the enrollment relief measures are being granted in states that "have had difficulty in providing timely eligibility determinations to applicants and enrolling qualified individuals in Qualified Health Plans through the Marketplace during the initial open enrollment period for the 2014 coverage year."

The open enrollment period ends March 31.

In comments to HealthLeaders Media this week, state officials in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Oregon, which have all experienced significant problems with their exchange websites, praised both the substance and the spirit of the CMS bulletin.

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