Add another 148K to the Off-Exchange Enrollment Tally

Hat Tip To: 

Quite a day for Direct/Off-Exchange Enrollment news. First the Washington revelation, now this profile in USA Today of eHealth Insurance, a private web-based health insurance exchange that's seen tremendous success selling ACA-compliant plans to people who don't qualify for tax credits through the government-run exchanges.

To figure out the correct number of enrollments to use (roughly), I first took 90% of the 169,800 figure (since they said that 10% of them were existing customers), which gives 152,820. Then, since the 184K figure out of Washington State supposedly includes all WA-based direct enrollees, I subtracted them by removing 3% (WA's population is about 2.2% of the national total, and their uninsured population is about 2.3% of the total uninsured, but lopped off a bit more just to err on the side of caution). This leaves about 148,000 people outside of Washington State who have purchased an ACA-compliant healthcare plan through eHealth Insurance between October 1 and December 31, 2013. Unfortunately, the article doesn't break the number out by state, but neither are the 95K WellPoint enrollees listed.

The article is very careful to note that none of these enrollments were done through any official ACA exchanges.

WASHINGTON — The number of customers on the nation's largest private health insurance exchange increased by 50% in the final three months of 2013, a direct result of demand created by the Affordable Care Act, the company's CEO said Thursday.

Gary Lauer, CEO of eHealth Insurance, said individual memberships rose 50% in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012, from 113,600 applications in the last three months of 2012 to 169,800 in 2013.

"The impact of the Affordable Care Act provisions were especially significant in the individual market," Lauer said Thursday afternoon. The opening Oct. 1 of the enrollment period for people to buy health insurance "drove significant demand," he said.

Only 10% of those buying new policies had bought policies from eHealth Insurance in the past, he said. Consumers who grew frustrated with may have turned to eHealth when the federal site was down in October, he said.

None of the new eHealth customers came through the state or federal health exchanges, Lauer said.

I especially like the fact that the article goes on to list similar reasons why people would buy ACA policies directly that I did earlier today, just worded differently:

Those shopping on private exchanges might include business owners who make more than 400% of the federal poverty level, but who couldn't get insurance before; retirees who are not eligible for Medicare; or people who simply disagree with the Affordable Care Act and choose to find insurance outside the federal and state exchanges — even if those plans are also through private insurers.