2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

Vermont: Well, THIS may help explain why Vermont is "lagging" this year...

The percentage of Vermonters without health insurance has dropped to 3.7 percent, second lowest in the nation, according to new data from a survey of 4,000 households. Massachusetts, which mandates health insurance coverage, has the lowest percentage of uninsured.

Since the last state-sponsored survey, in 2012, the number of uninsured Vermonters declined from 42,760 to 23,231, according to weighted results.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Vermont's pool of potential private ACA exchange enrollees was around 44,000 people as of last April (ie, right after the 2014 enrollment period ended).

So far this year, the state has renewed about 22.5K QHPs, and have added another 4,100 new enrollees. Assuming nearly all of these new folks were uninusred previously that would knock the remaining potential enrollees down to under 40K. Yet this new survey pegs the current uninsured rate as only 23.2K.

So, where do the remaining 16.8K come from? Well, remember that you don't have to be uninsured in order to enroll via an ACA exchange; plenty of people who were already insured elsewhere (via Medicaid, Employer-provided insurance or a non-ACA compliant individual policy) have been making the move to the exchange policies as well (either voluntarily switching or by having their non-compliant policy cancelled).

Even so, something tells me that the potential pool in Vermont may have dropped to less than 44K between April and November...and in a tiny state like that, it doesn't take much to move the needle.

In any event, it sounds like my personal target for VT (44,000...which amounts to effectively the entire remaining uninsured population) may actually be higher than the number of people eligible at this point! (And even the VT exchange's lower target of around 38,000 may be impossible to achieve as well...especially when you consider that at least some of those 23,231 uninsured residents may be undocumented immigrants (who are ineligible to enroll via the exchange anyway).