Colorado

2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

When the dust settled on the official 2016 Open Enrollment Period, Connect for Health Colorado reported enrolling 153,583 people in exchange-based Qualified Health Plans. However, as I noted at the time:

Colorado lost their Co-Op...and CO is also one of only two states (Oregon is the other one) to drop their "transitional" policies as of the end of 2015. As a result, Colorado has a lot of people who could still potentially enroll by the end of February thanks to the 60-day Loss of Coverage Special Enrollment Period provision.

Louise Norris noted that there were around 39,000 ex-Co-Op members in Colorado (along with some others) who could still potentially enroll during February via the SEP option; I spitballed anywhere from 10,000 - 20,000 more Coloradoans might yet be added. There are also the normal SEPs for things like getting married, giving birth and so forth.

The last Colorado update, which ran through January 15th, had their numbers at 139,579 private policies (QHPs), 23,017 standalone dental plans, 45,100 in Medicaid and 2,771 in the SCHIP program.

I've just learned that Colorado's final tally as of the January 31st deadline stands at 153,583 QHPs, 25,604 dental, 54,447 Medicaid and 3,549 SCHIP, which means they added just over 14,000 in the final 16 days.

Here's Connect for Health Colorado's latest enrollment update:

DENVER — Between Nov.1 and Jan. 15, more than 190,000 Coloradans enrolled in health coverage for 2016, either in private health insurance purchased through the state health insurance Marketplace or in Medicaid, or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado® and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

“These enrollment figures show strong growth during this open enrollment period,” said Connect for Health Colorado® CEO Kevin Patterson.  “But we are now only days away from this year’s enrollment deadline for many. I strongly urge everyone who does not have health insurance provided through their employer to act right now to provide financial security for their families and to avoid a penalty that experts estimate will average nearly $1,000 per household. The final deadline for 2016 coverage for many Coloradans is Jan. 31.”

Connect for Health Colorado just issued their official monthly enrollment update:

Connect for Health Colorado® and Colorado Medicaid Report Enrollment Gains of More Than 169,000

January 5, 2016

DENVER — Between Nov.1 and Dec. 31, more than 169,000 Coloradans enrolled in health coverage for 2016, either in private health insurance purchased through the state health insurance Marketplace or in Medicaid, or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado® and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

“We are very happy with the enrollment growth during the first two months of this open enrollment period,” said Connect for Health Colorado® CEO Kevin Patterson. “But I want to urge everyone who does not have health insurance provided through their employer to act now to provide financial security for their families and to avoid a penalty of nearly $695 or more. The final deadline for 2016 coverage –Jan. 31 – is fast approaching.”

A very welcome, if unofficial, update from Connect for Health Colorado:

DENVER (AP) – A new insurance-matching tool similar to Uber car sharing is helping Colorado’s health insurance exchange meet demand during the open enrollment period for people who need to sign up for health coverage , an exchange official said Thursday.

And an extended deadline didn’t hurt.

Open enrollment ends in January for Connect For Health Colorado. But Thursday was the deadline for shoppers to have coverage in effect by Jan. 1.

More than 117,000 people had signed up, though exact figures weren’t available, said Connect For Health spokesman Luke Clarke.

Connect for Health wants to see 217,000 people signed up by next summer. Clarke said the exchange is ahead of last year’s pace, when 113,000 had signed up by the December deadline.

The article doesn't specify what the "thru date" for the 117K figure is, but I'm assuming that it was as of 12/15 since that was the original deadline for January coverage and the story ran today.

h/t to Louise Norris who beat me to the punch for once:

DENVER — Between Nov.1 and Nov. 29, more than 46,000 Coloradans enrolled in health coverage for 2016, either in private health insurance purchased through the state health insurance Marketplace or in Medicaid, or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado® and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

“The steady enrollment gains that we have seen during first month of Open Enrollment are very encouraging,” said Connect for Health Colorado® CEO Kevin Patterson.  “But now we have just two short weeks to complete enrollment before December 15 – the deadline for coverage to take effect on January 1. I encourage anyone who has not signed up to do it today. Going to our website to find free, in-person help is a great way to start.”

Whether you are renewing or enrolling for the first time, you must complete enrollment by December 15, to have coverage January 1, and avoid a gap in your coverage. Open Enrollment runs through January 31.

There's a lot of news stories of late about Colorado activists managing to successfully place a statewide initiative on the 2016 ballot which, if successful, would make Colorado the first state to move to a new Single Payer healthcare model.

I haven't written a whole lot about this so far, partly because we're still a year out, partly because I'm swamped with current Open Enrollment Period developments (believe me, I'll have more to say about it after the end of #OE3).

However, there's one meme which keeps coming up in the news which drives me a bit insane:

Connect for Health Colorado® and Colorado Medicaid Report Enrollment Gains

DENVER — Between Nov.1 and Nov. 15, more than 21,000 Coloradans enrolled in health coverage for 2016, either in private health insurance purchased through the state health insurance Marketplace or in Medicaid, or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado® and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

“We are very pleased with the number of initial sign-ups during the first two weeks of Open Enrollment,” said Connect for Health Colorado® CEO Kevin Patterson. “But I want to urge everyone to not put off their 2016 health insurance coverage. New customers and renewing customers have a number of choices to consider. I encourage all of our customers to review their options and complete their enrollment before the last-minute rush.”

OK, it turns out I have found an early enrollment update for a third state. Connect for Health Colorado held their monthly board meeting today, and along with a full report on October 2015 enrollments, they also posted a Business/Technology presentation for 2016 Open Enrollment, which includes this slightly cryptic bullet point:

  • Enrollment Results 2016 = 6,718 (as of 11/8/15)

That seems pretty cut & dry. I've confirmed with the exchange that this number represents QHPs only; it doesn't include SHOP (small business) or standalone Dental plans.

Last year Colorado ended up with 140,327 QHP selections during open enrollment out of 11,688,074 total...or about 1.2% of the national total.

When it comes to how many people are currently enrolled in effectuated Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) via the assorted ACA exchanges, I'm continuing to get completely different numbers from the actual exchanges as I am from the major insurance companies. To recap:

  • According to 8 of the state-based exchanges (CO, CT, DC, ID, MD, MA, MN & WA), effectuated enrollments as of the end of September were up 2.7% from the end of June (or down just 0.1% if you disregard Massachusetts, which has some special circumstances).
  • However, the quarterly financial reports from 8 major insurance carriers claim that private exchange enrollments in September were down around 7.9% since the end of June.

This discrepancy continues with the release of the Colorado exchange's October enrollment report. As you can see, when you add up the effectuated tax credit enrollees (APTC/CSR) (78,670) and the full-price enrollees (64,485) as of October 31st, they total 143,155 people.

...which is 1,304 more than the 141,851 effectuated enrollees reported as of the end of September.

Like HealthCare.Gov (for 37 states) and Minnesota have done already, Colorado's insurance commissioner is also letting state residents know about the importance of shopping around for their insurance policy for 2016:

Health insurance premiums will increase on average 7 percent in Colorado in 2016, according to statistics compiled by the state division that reviewed and approved plans for the coming year.

...Consumers who purchased through Connect for Health Colorado, the state health insurance exchange, in 2015 who aren’t eligible for tax credits will see an average increase of 12 percent if they simply renew their current plan for 2016.

With all the bad news about the Colorado Dept. of Insurance pulling the plug on CO HealthOP a week or so ago, here's some (relatively) good news out of the Centennial State (and yes, I had to look that up to find out what Colorado's nickname is).

Colorado was one of the first states I included in my 2016 Weighted Average Rate Hike Project. At the time, I only had requested rate changes available, and was missing the requests and/or actual enrollment numbers for several insurance carriers. As a result, my estimate of the average requested rate hike came in at 13.1%, but was pretty fuzzy.

When I updated my #OE3 state-level enrollment projections yesterday, I came across this official projection for #OE3 from Your Health Idaho's Sept. 18th board meeting minutes:

Rep. Rusche asked what our target enrollment is for this cycle and what barriers we see in making those targets. Mr. Kelly said the team is focused on the 80% goal of 92,000 as our enrollment target.Premium increases are a potential barrier. Net premium is a relatively small increase for most consumers, and each consumer will experience something different depending Page 5 of 14 on their plan, their location, their carrier, etc. We feel that while the premiums are increasing the relatively small net premium increase will mitigate this barrier to a large degree.

When I asked for clarification, they informed me that:

We currently have 86,659 effectuated enrollments with Your Health Idaho, as of September 15. The 92,000 would also refer to effectuated enrollments.

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