Thanks to top contributor deaconblues for jumping back into the game and providing me with a whole batch of updates this evening. First up, the DC exchange, which posted their first update in 2 months:
From October 1, 2013 to September 9, 2014, 57,883 people have enrolled through DC Health Link in private health plans or Medicaid:
14,402 people enrolled in private health plans through the DC Health Link individual and family marketplace. 14,289 people enrolled through the DC Health Link small business marketplace. 29,192 people were determined eligible for Medicaid coverage through DC Health Link.
That's an increase of 1,872 QHPs, 510 new SHOP enrollees and 4,472 more Medicaid additions to date.
Unfortunately, I don't know the market share breakdown, so I can't do a weighted average, but the DC Health Link exchange rates for 2015 have been released, and the unweighted average is only a 2.3% increase for the individual market. For the SHOP (small business) exchange the news is even better...a decrease of over 2% (again, unweighted). The SHOP rates carry a lot more heft in DC than in most states due to the unique rules in place there (like Vermont, all individual enrollment has to be done via the ACA exchange, and all Congressional staffers are required to enroll via the DC SHOP system):
The D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking today announced the approved health insurance plan rates for the District of Columbia’s health insurance marketplace, DC Health Link, for plan year 2015.
Eight carriers through four major insurance companies – Aetna, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare – will have plan offerings for individuals, families and small businesses on DC Health Link when enrollment opens Nov. 15, 2014.
Between my son being sick for the past 4 days (he's better now, thanks!), losing my internet connection for 2 days (it's back up now, thanks!) and just generally being swamped with work, I don't have time to give these stories the attention they deserve, but they're all worth checking out:
It’s hard work trying to get people to sign up for health insurance when their care is mostly free to them. Andrea Thomas is working to get Alaska Natives in Sitka, Alaska, to do just that. She’s the outreach and enrollment manager at SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), and it’s her job to sign people up for health insurance coverage through exchanges created as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
To get a sense of just how uphill Thomas’s battle is, consider this: Of the more than 100,000 people who live in Alaska and self-identify as Alaska Native or American Indian, only 115 had signed up for health insurance through an Affordable Care Act exchange as of March 31. Alaska Natives and American Indians are exempt from tax penalties for not signing up for health insurance.
I've been too busy with my day job (I do have one, you know...) to post much lately, but plenty of ACA-related news has piled up, so I'm clearing off my desk with some quick bits:
MARYLAND: An Amazing Healthcare Revolution Is Happening In Maryland — And Almost No One's Talking About It
The Maryland ACA exchange has been one of the "middle-tier" models in my view; not an utter disaster like the ones in Oregon or Massachusetts, but still riddled with technical problems like the ones in Minnesota & Vermont. However, the state has apparently had a different healthcare-related initiative which has been a huge success so far:
Through innovative methods and a data-centric approach, Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, has become the cornerstone in Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's ambitious makeover of the state's healthcare programs.
An odd update from the DC exchange...not the update itself, which shows a modest-but-steady increase in QHP enrollment, but the fact that it only runs through July 9th even though it wasn't posted until yesterday (7/28). The prior update ran through July 1st, so that's a net gain of 197 people in 8 days, or about 24 per day. This is actually up slightly from the May/June average of 22/day.
Both the SHOP and Medicaid numbers also went up slightly as well, but again, this only covers an 8 day period:
Monday, July 28, 2014
From October 1, 2013 to July 9, 2014, 51,059 people have enrolled through DC Health Link in private health plans or Medicaid:
12,530 people enrolled in private health plans through the DC Health Link individual and family marketplace.
13,779 people enrolled through the DC Health Link small business marketplace.
24,720 people were determined eligible for Medicaid coverage through DC Health Link.
When I last checked in on the District of Columbia exchange, they were reporting 11,582 exchange QHPs as of June 11...868 higher than the last official HHS tally as of 4/19. That means that they had been averaging around 16 new QHPs per day at that time.
Well, today they issued another update: As of July 1st, the total is up to 12,333. This is another 751 higher, bringing the overall off-season average up to 22 per day. That's right: Just like in Colorado, DC's QHP off-season enrollment rate is actually increasing as we move farther away from 4/19...at least so far.
So, what does this mean for the national trend? Well, the numbers are too small to impact the overall range, of course, but so far both Colorado and DC's latest updates have only inched the trend upwards; it now sits at a lower bound of around 9,000/day and an upper bound of 12,000 per day.
As always, I continue to be cautious in my actual tally prediction, though I've moved this up from 7K/day to 8K/day; if the lower bound reaches 10K, I'll bump my "official" projection up to 9K and so on.
A second nice DC find today by contributor deaconblues; as he put it, "so much for the triple-digit increases predicted by the Republicans"...
The D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking received proposed health insurance plan rates to sell on the District of Columbia’s health insurance marketplace, DC Health Link, for plan year 2015.
Four major insurance companies – Aetna, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare – have proposed rates for individuals, families and small businesses.
UnitedHealthcare proposed rate decreases of eight percent for all of their 2015 plans; Aetna and Kaiser Permanente proposed a mix of rate increases and decreases resulting in a slight overall net decrease for Aetna and a slight overall net increase for Kaiser; and CareFirst proposed rate increases for all plans. Most of the individual plans and all small business or “SHOP” plans reflect increases greater than 10 percent.
While that last item about CareFirst raising rates over 10% puts a damper on the good news, it may not be final:
The DC exchange has always been a bit of an anomaly: It's one of only 2 exchanges where SHOP enrollments exceed QHPs (the other is Vermont), mainly because the ACA requires Congressional staffers to enroll via the DC SHOP exchange instead of their home states or even the DC QHP side. As a result, as of April 30th (the most recent update), the breakdown was 11,106 QHP's (25%), 13,230 SHOP (30%) and 20,497 Medicaid enrollees (45%). Add them up and you get 44,833 total.
As contributor deaconblues notes, the QHP number seems to be almost identical, so the bulk of the 3,200 additional enrollments are broken out between Medicaid and SHOP enrollees. I'll assume a 70/30 split until better data is made available.
A spokeswoman for DC Health Link said this week that reports of problems, “if true, were isolated incidents.” She noted that the exchange has enrolled more than 48,000 individuals and families; about 11,000 are enrolled in private plans.
The quotes around "final" are there because DC also announced that they're bumping out the extension period one more time, to April 30th:
The exchange had 699 people enroll for coverage in the two weeks after open enrollment was originally supposed to close, with 22 percent of those signups coming on Tuesday, the final possible day. That brings the total number of private health coverage enrollments to 10,630, Medicaid signups to 19,217, and small business enrollments to 13,118.
The third state-based exchange (well...technically not a state) to release their 3/31 total is the District of Columbia. Fortunately, they specifically separate out the SHOP numbers:
The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority today released new data showing strong enrollment activity through DCHealthLink.com as of March 31st. Since the marketplace opened for business on October 1, DC Health Link has enrolled 40,234 people. This includes District residents who enrolled in private health plans and in Medicaid, as well as people with coverage through their employers. In the final week alone, more than 2,000 people enrolled through the individual and family marketplace -- accounting for over 21% of all individual enrollments in private coverage.
As of March 31, 2014, 40,234 people have enrolled through DC Health Link in private health plans or Medicaid:
9,838 people enrolled in private health plans through the DC Health Link individual and family marketplace;
17,489 people were determined eligible for Medicaid coverage through DC Health Link; and
12,907 people enrolled through the DC Health Link small business marketplace.