2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

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New York: Final OE3 numbers released! Nothing new on the QHP/BHP front, but check out Medicaid/CH+!

At long last, the New York State of Health exchange has released their final 2016 Open Enrollment Period data! (thanks to Dan Goldberg for the heads up)

Actually, two of the data points (private QHPs and BHP enrollment) aren't very different from what I already knew. However, there's some interesting news on the Medicaid & Child Health Plus side:

Rate of Uninsured Drops to Lowest Level in Decades

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 23, 2016) - NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace, today announced more than 2.8 million people have signed up for health insurance as of  January 31, 2016, the end of the 2016 open enrollment period.  Since the Marketplace opened in 2013, the number of uninsured New Yorkers has declined by nearly 850,000. According to recently released data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of uninsured declined from 10 percent to 5 percent between 2013 and September 2015 and is at its lowest level in decades.

“We have made great strides in reducing New York’s uninsured rate,” said NY State of Health Executive Director, Donna Frescatore. “The new Essential Plan for 2016 has helped bridge the gap for lower income individuals and families allowing many New Yorkers, including young adults, to get affordable health coverage through the Marketplace.” 

The breakdown of NY State of Health enrollees as of January 31, 2016, the end of open enrollment, is as follows:

  • Total enrollment:                          2,833,823       
  • Total Medicaid enrollment:           1,966,920
  • Total non-Medicaid enrollment:   866,903
    • Essential Plan:                         379,559
    • Qualified Health Plan:              271,964
    • Child Health Plus:                    215,380

The majority of people who enrolled in coverage through NY State of Health receive financial assistance to help pay for coverage. While the 2016 open enrollment period for Qualified Health Plans has ended, individuals who have a qualifying life event may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. Individuals eligible for the new Essential Plan, Medicaid or Child Health Plus can enroll year-round.   

For information on enrollment eligibility or to enroll in a health plan, visit nystateofhealth.ny.gov, call Customer Service at 1-855-355-5777, or find an enrollment assistor.

The 272K QHPs are about 12K higher than the most recent number I had for NY, which ran through 1/24/16. The 379K BHP ("essential plan") figure is about 21K lower than the HHS Dept. had previously indicated (although in their defense, they said "nearly" 400K at the time). So really, nothing noteworthy for either of these.

When you compare today's numbers with the data the exchange released as of the end of last February, let's see what happens:

  • QHP Selections: 415,352
  • Child Health Plus: 159,716
  • Medicaid: 1,568,345

Add 225,000 legal immigrants who were transferred over to the BHP program back in April 2015, and you get the following:

  • Spring 2015: 415,352 QHPs + 225,000 BHPs = 640,352
  • Spring 2016: 271,964 QHPs + 379,559 BHPs = 651,523 = about a 2% increase year over year. Nothing to crow about, mainly a shift from one program to the other.

But look at the other numbers:

  • Spring 2015: 1.57 million in Medicaid
  • Spring 2016: 1.97 million in Medicaid = 400,000 more people, or over a 25% increase
  • Spring 2015: 159.7K in Child Health Plus
  • Spring 2016: 215.4K in Child Health Plus = 55.7K more children, or a 35% increase

Assuming New York's economic recovery hasn't seen any dips lately which would cause a net loss of other types of coverage, this suggests that they've managed to further reduce their uninsured number by as many as  450,000 more people!

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as of last fall, New York had around 1.48 million uninsured people total, so a further 30% reduction over the past few months would be pretty astonishing. My guess is it's probably no more than half of that due to normal churn/etc, but that would still be pretty impressive.