In which the Obama Administration finally takes the advice I gave back in June
As an aside, I also question the wisdom of not requiring everyone to re-enroll each year. Obviously HHS is trying to minimize the inconvenience/hassle factor, but it seems to me that this is just going to cause even greater confusion than it would if they simply issued a blanket statement: If you enrolled via an ACA exchange, you have to renew once a year even if nothing else has changed.
I don't see doing this as a big deal; people have to renew their license plates every year even if it's for the same car, for example.
"We get into a very dangerous situation if we just tell everybody they can just auto-enroll," Houchens said.
Again, all of this is avoidable. These are the risks of auto-renewal. Anyone who goes back in to HealthCare.gov to get a new eligibility determination will see their updated subsidy as well as the current list of available plans.
In fairness, it's really Caroline Pearson, Paul Houchens & Adrianna McIntyre who deserve credit for bringing this issue to light (at least, they're the first ones I know of who brought it up, anyway).
In any event, lo and behold...
...But consumer advocates and insurers say they see a significant potential for confusion because some of the information will be out of date and misleading on costs and other aspects of coverage. Some people who have been receiving monthly subsidy payments this year could get much less if they stay in their current health plans.
The Obama administration announced in June that most people with insurance purchased in the federal marketplace would be automatically enrolled in the same or similar plans next year, so they would not need to file applications or go back to HealthCare.gov to continue their coverage.
Now, however, the administration is emphasizing that consumers should revisit the marketplace to make sure they are getting the right amount of financial assistance and to compare other health plans.
...Consumer advocates complained that this was the wrong message to send because it incorrectly implied that no action was required and that nothing was changing, and administration officials have responded.
“We will encourage everyone to come back to the marketplace to update their eligibility information and shop for the best coverage option that meets their needs,” Andrew M. Slavitt, the No. 2 official at the Medicare agency, said last week.