As I noted last week, the whole "Obamacare is socialism!!" mantra, which was always stupid in the first place, looks even sillier now with the news coming in from state after state that more and more private insurance companies are jumping into the ACA exchange pool. Now comes news from my own state of Michigan that the number on the exchange for the 2015 open enrollment season will climb from 13 to a whopping 18:
LANSING — Additional insurers are asking to join Michigan's Health Insurance Marketplace.
The state said today that it has received filing information from 18 health insurance companies wanting to be included in 2015 — five more than participated last year.
Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Ann Flood said state residents seeking coverage through the marketplace will have even more plans to choose from and that "increased competition helps keep premiums lower."
Still, this doesn't take anything away from Minnesota's accomplishment; Mazel Tov all around!
The uninsured rate in Minnesota has fallen by more than 40 percent since the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion started, a new report from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center shows.
The analysis appears to be the first assessment of how a state's uninsured rate has changed since the insurance expansion began in October. It shows that, between September 2013 and May 2014, the number of uninsured Minnesotans fell from 445,000 to about 264,500.
Wow! New Jersey's ACA Medicaid Expansion is up to over 201,000 people (43% of the total eligible population), helping reduce the state's uninsured rate from 21.2% to 13.2% in the past 8 months:
A monthly enrollment report showed that 1,485,576 state residents were covered by FamilyCare, which includes coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. That total represented a 45,674-person increase from April and a 201,095-person increase since January 1, when the eligibility expansion went into effect.
The numbers suggest that the number of uninsured New Jerseyans has continued to fall since early March, when a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-sponsored survey found that the percentage of state residents without insurance had already fallen to 13.2 percent, down from 21.2 percent in September.
At the end of the official enrollment extension period (technically 4/19), Colorado's exchange QHP tally stood at 125,402. As of the end of May, it was up to 132,815, with SHOP enrollments up to 2,135. This means Colorado's QHP total went up around 6% since open enrollment ended, or around 177 per day.
OK, I've only gone completely off-topic on this site like twice, but I'm just such a huge fan of this woman that I'm making an exception.
I'm very much aware that the bulk of my 15 minutes of fame pretty much ran out the moment that the first open enrollment extension period wrapped up, but the site still receives a decent amount of traffic so I figured, what the hell, might as well help give a deserving talent some additional exposure before what's left of my own spotlight dims completely.
Besides, there's been so much depressing news of late (more mass shootings by wingnut extremists, the ugly response by the GOP to the President bringing home an American POW, etc) that I figured I should lighten things up a bit for once. WIth that in mind...
Over 6 years ago, during the famous Obama/Hillary Presidential Primary Slugfest, I stumbled across a YouTube video of a talented woman named Rosemary Watson who absolutely nailed Hillary Clinton to a T in a hilarious bit called "New Hand Gestures":
When Massachusetts passed its landmark health coverage law under Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006, no one claimed the state would get to zero, as in 0 percent of residents who are uninsured. But numbers out today suggest Massachusetts is very close.
Between December 2013 and March of this year, when the federal government was urging people to enroll, the number of Massachusetts residents signed up for health coverage increased by more than 215,000. If that number holds, the percentage of Massachusetts residents who do not have coverage has dropped to less than 1 percent.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Massachusetts only had around 242,000 uninsured residents out of 6.65 million total as of last September (about 3.6%), just before the ACA exchanges launched. So on the one hand, Massachusetts already had the lowest uninsured rate in the country due, of course, to RomneyCare, the precursor of Obamacare (no matter how much Mitt wants to deny it now, Lord knows why...)
So, it's been over a month since my last official update of The Graph. I've been debating whether to post any further updates of it, especially since the HHS Dept. announced that they won't be posting any more monthly exchange QHP updates, at least until the next open enrollment period starts in November. Without these, I have no official count of additional enrollments beyond the 8.02 million which were announced through April 19th.
However, I do have some official numbers since then, mostly on the Medicaid/CHIP side, and a handful of the state exchanges have still be providing regular updates (ironically, two of the states which continue to keep posting updates have the worst technical problems, Hawaii and Oregon).
Officials in Idaho say they’re undaunted by the well-documented failures of Obamacare exchanges in neighboring states and are moving full-steam ahead with plans to launch their own web portal this November.
While executives at Cover Oregon and Nevada Health Link abandon their state-run websites and turn to the federal exchange (HealthCare.gov), Your Health Idaho is headed in the opposite direction.
The state relied on the federal website for the open-enrollment period that ended in mid-April because it had less than 200 days last year set up its own web-exchange when state lawmakers authorized the project. It was one of two states — New Mexico is the other — that had to wait a year for its own site, and exchange officials say the delay has been a plus as they meet with other states to discuss what went right or wrong during Obamacare’s first round.
RICHMOND — Republicans appear to have outmaneuvered Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a state budget standoff by persuading a Democratic senator to resign his seat, at least temporarily giving the GOP control of the chamber and possibly dooming the governor’s push to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) will announce his resignation Monday, effective immediately, paving the way to appoint his daughter to a judgeship and Puckett to the job of deputy director of the state tobacco commission, three people familiar with the plan said Sunday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Insurance experts say it's hard to know how many people opted to forego insurance and take a tax penalty and now have decided they want insurance, and also how many simply failed to sign up in time and now regret the decision.
But confusion over the new health law, also known as Obamacare, kept some from enrolling, health insurance experts say.
Some people thought they didn't have to meet the new health law's deadline because they didn't qualify for a premium subsidy from the federal government, said Carrie McLean, director of customer care at eHealthInsurance.com, a private Web-based insurance broker. Others thought that only people who wanted to purchase insurance through Covered California, the state's health benefit exchange, had to do so by March 31, she said.
And, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey in March, more than 60% of those without health coverage were unaware of the enrollment deadline for most people to sign up for individual health coverage.
Under the health care reform law, West Virginia expanded its Medicaid program to cover those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $16,000 a year for an individual. As of May 27, 123,403 West Virginia residents had signed up for Medicaid under the expanded program.
Though some analysts and even health plan executives believe there could be many double-digit percentage increases in premiums where some health plans underpriced for this year’s first year of enrollment to get customers, there have been examples where insurers are considering introducing even lower premiums than what they offered this year or new product with lower rates. A Bloomberg News report last week, for example, cited Molina Healthcare (MOH) in Washington State as offering a 2015 rate that is an average “6.8 percent reduction” from this year’s rate.