More Than 2 Million Individuals Enroll for Exchange Coverage
SummaryDespite the challenging exchange rollout, more than 1.8 million individuals signed up for exchange coverage in December alone, bringing total enrollment to 2.2 million during the first three months of open enrollment.
As expected, 30 percent are under age 34, resulting in an older age mix than health plans and the federal government hoped for in the long-term. Younger, healthier people are likely to enroll closer to March. Also as anticipated, 80 percent of individuals are purchasing bronze and silver products, including low-income individuals eligible for cost-sharing reductions in silver variation plans. Furthermore, 79 percent of all enrollees so far will receive financial assistance for their exchange coverage.
As Healthcare.gov continues to improve, issuers are still grappling with a number of issues, including processes related to enrollment. Issuers are still struggling to confirm that all enrollments are coming through the federally-facilitated exchange (FFE). Additionally, given that health plans extended the deadlines for individuals to pay their premiums well into January, consumers are likely to face a range of issues as they seek care over the next few weeks, given the lag time for them to receive their ID cards and conflicting enrollment data plans have been receiving.
At this time last year, five states had released contracting documents for 2014, but no states have released such documents thus far; California is the only state that has released a 2015 contracting timeline. As states continue to work on issues related to this year’s coverage, it is unlikely that issuers will see significant policy and contracting changes related to their participation on exchanges for 2015. If HHS finalizes their proposal to delay open enrollment for next year, issuers will likely have to submit product offerings and rate submissions in May or early June. Issuers should receive additional clarity regarding rules for participation in the FFE when HHS releases the annual letter to issuers in February or March.
This article was excerpted from the January issue of State Reform Insights.