START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Time: D H M S

California: 1.558M QHPs thru January 3rd (90% of my target)

Between the big December deadline (for January coverage) having passed and the holiday season, the actual OE4 enrollment data has been pretty sparse the past few weeks. A few minutes ago, however, Covered California broke the enrollment news drought (no pun intended) with a press release which, while not primarily focused on the actual enrollment data, nonetheless includes a solid update:

Covered California Brings Health Care Within Reach and Shows How Consumers Can Save by Shopping

  • Consumers who change plans while renewing their Covered California health plan are saving on average $38 per month, or $456 a year, by switching to the lowest-priced plan in their metal tier — demonstrating the power of choice and competition.
  • Covered California is addressing the need for truly affordable health insurance: With federal tax credits, nearly 50 percent of consumers can get a Silver plan for less than $100 per month, often with low copays and deductibles. In addition, 60 percent of consumers receiving tax credits can get a Bronze plan for less than $10 per month that provides free preventive care and protection for high-cost medical events.
  • 258,158 new consumers have signed up during this enrollment period.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California released new data that demonstrates that affordable health care is within reach of consumers, and that renewing consumers can save money when they shop around and switch to a lower-cost plan within the same metal tier.

“Covered California has built a competitive market where the consumer is in the driver’s seat and our health plans are fighting for their business,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “Consumers who are shopping and switching to the lowest-cost plan in the same metal tier are saving more than $450 per year.”

The data reveals two key points for the approximately 1.3 million Californians who are renewing their coverage with Covered California:

  • Enrollees who have switched their health plan for 2017, but whose plan remains within the same metal tier, have saved an average of $38 per household per month or $456 per year.
  • The majority of renewing enrollees, 78 percent, could pay less than they are paying now if they switch to the lowest-cost plan within the same metal tier.

For both those renewing their coverage and those getting covered for the first time, Covered California released data confirming the affordability of health insurance for the close to 90 percent of consumers who benefit from federal tax credits:

  • Nearly half of all Covered California consumers, 49 percent, can get a Silver plan costing less than $100 per month. All of these consumers would benefit from financial assistance to lower their out-of-pocket expenses at various levels. In fact, 195,000 people, or 17 percent of current Covered California enrollees, can visit their doctor for only a $5 copay and will have an annual deductible of only $75 for an individual and $150 for a family. (The deductible only applies to hospital care.)
  • For all Silver plans, no outpatient services — such as primary, urgent and specialist care, and diagnostic tests and generic prescription drugs — are subject to a deductible.
  • More than half of all Covered California consumers receiving a tax credit, 59 percent, can get a Bronze plan for less than $10 per month. Bronze plans offer three visits to a primary care physician or specialist that are not subject to a deductible.

“The availability of tax credits is making health care truly affordable,” Lee said. “Not only can our consumers see the best doctors and hospitals in the state, but our patient-centered benefits are giving them access to care without being subject to a deductible.”

Covered California also announced that as of the end of Jan. 3, more than 258,000 people have signed up for health insurance coverage through CoveredCA.com or a certified enroller.

In my previous CoveredCA update, the numbers were 1.2 million renewals + 196K new enrollees, for a total of 1.396 million people enrolled for 2017 policies. However, I had also noted that while most of those renewing had already been counted, the exchange indicated that there were still an unspecified number still being processed for one reason or another. It looks like those "missing" renewals were nearly 100,000 people.

This means there's been an additional 162,000 people who've signed up or renewed since the original 12/15 deadline, or 1,558,158 total.

My personal target for California this year is 1.725 million. The Golden State has achieved 90% of that figure with 28 days left to go. If they can scrape up 167,000 more people over the next 4 weeks, they'll hit it.