This year, the managers of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) public exchange program have to compete for attention with another HHS agency — the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the arm of HHS that oversees the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange program in all states and runs exchange enrollment in a majority of the states, kicked off its 2015 renewal marketing effort Wednesday.
The 2015 PPACA exchange open enrollment period is supposed to start Nov. 15, 2014 and end Feb. 15, 2015. CMS is trying to get people who already have qualified health plan (QHP) coverage from an exchange to log in and update application information, to protect themselves against the huge tax bills that could slam PPACA subsidy users who fail to give the subsidy calculators correct income information.
CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner was also trying to get the exchange program some credit for expanding its QHP menus. She noted in the announcement that the exchanges had attracted 25 percent more issuers for 2015.
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Meanwhile, around the same time, the Texas Department of State Health Services was reporting that a second Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse had tested positive for Ebola.
Instead of publicizing the PPACA exchange system by holding hearings attacking it, Republicans in Congress are holding hearings on the Obama administration’s Ebola response.