Here's why the Off-Exchange QHP Project is so difficult...and so important

The other day I noted that I've made little progress on the Off-Exchange QHP Enrollment Project. Not only have few people volunteered to help (though I do appreciate those who have), hunting down the data itself has proven harder than bullseyeing Womp Rats.

Case in point: Aside from my success with Washington State (I don't deserve any credit--they voluntarily published their data in a press release that I stumbled across), I've contacted 24 state Insurance Commission offices so far (Alabama - Mississippi). Out of those 24, here's the responses:

  • Alaska: "The Alaska Division of Insurance does not have any data on Off-Exchange ACA Policy Enrollments."
  • Arizona: "AZDOI does not have such data at this time."
  • Colorado: "Thanks for reaching out to us.  Unfortunately, I can't help with your request for off-exchange enrollment data.  We have not collected that information from the carriers yet, although once open enrollment has concluded, we will likely begin contacting them for that information..."
  • Florida: They actually called, which is nice. The good news is that they do compile direct insurance company enrollment data...the bad news is that 2013 data won't be available until this October, and 2014 data won't be available until fall 2015.
  • Georgia: Started off looking promising ("I received your request concerning off-exchange ACA policy enrollment data for Georgia to date...I hope to have the requested information by the end of this week or early next week.")...but I just received this a few minutes ago: "We have no credible way of knowing how many policies have been issued off exchange since policies are issued through various agents throughout the state."
  • Idaho: "Thank you for your inquiry. We do not collect the information you are requesting."
  • Illinois: "Illinois does not currently have enrollment numbers for off exchange products."
  • Maryland: "The Maryland Insurance Administration does not have the information you are requesting. You may want to check directly with the carriers."
  • Michigan: "The state of Michigan does not currently have a mechanism to track off-Exchange enrollments."
  • Minnesota: "I was forwarded your email for response.  Great question – I would suggest that at this time, you should reach out directly to Minnesota’s Health Insurance Companies for that data....The Commerce Department will be gathering and analyzing this data after Open Enrollment ends."
  • Louisiana: "I’m sorry but the Louisiana Department of Insurance does not specifically track enrollment information off the Marketplace."

I still have two potential bright spots:

  • California: They provided links to the data...from 2012. The 2013 report won't be available until April, so there's an outside chance that I can get at least half the data in during the post-3/31 "cleanup" phase...but the Jan-Mar data won't be available for another year (sigh)
  • Kentucky: "We have compiled some data but I’m not sure whether we have everything you need. Your best option would be to send an open records request outlining what you need...they'll be able to check with our Health division to see what data we have collected from the companies."

OK, so how about contacting the insurance companies directly?

Well, I've had a bit of luck with that route as well; so far I have off-exchange data from CoOportunity, WellPoint, eHealth Insurance, Highmark Inc., Health First of Florida, Family Health Hawaii, Presbyterian Health Plan and Oregon's Health CO-OP.

Unfortunately, there are a good 200+ other companies/co-ops that I'd have to contact and convince to provide their off-exchange data, which isn't exactly easy to do.

Just to give an example, the helpful woman at the Georgia Insurance Commission Office was able to provde me with a full list of companies in Georgia that are licensed to sell ACA-compliant policies off-exchange...there's 17 of them. In one state. Anyone who wants to contact any or all of these is welcome to try...

  • Aetna Health
  • Aetna Life
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Care of GA
  • Federal Mutual
  • Freedom Life Insurance Company
  • Humana Employers Health
  • Humana Insurance Company
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of GA
  • Madison National Life
  • Nippon Life
  • Standard Security Life
  • UnitedHealthcare of GA
  • UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co
  • UnitedHealthcare of River Valley
  • John Alden
  • Time Insurance Company
  • Athens Area Health Plan