Colorado: 15K* more QHPs added in February via SEPs

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.

*There's a bit of confusion about the exact end-of-OE3 number, because the official HHS ASPE report released on March 11th puts Colorado's exchange QHP number at only 150,769 as of 2/01, while a C4HCO dashboard report puts it at 157,317 as of 2/02. Presumably the extra several thousand people were either special cases being wrapped up from the normal enrollment period or SEP enrollees.

In any event, this morning, C4HCO issued their final, official OE3 report, and as Norris noted this morning, according to it, the final QHP number is actually 169,156 when you include the February SEP enrollees. In fact, technically speaking, C4HCO is including all of February as part of their "official" OE3 period:

Open Enrollment Period was 121 days long (Nov. 1, 2015 - Feb. 29, 2016), including an additional 29 days of Open Enrollment for customers eligible for a Special Enrollment Period

You might quibble about the semantics of this, but whatever. The point is that depending on which number you use, Colorado added anywhere from 12,000 - 18,000 more people to their 2016 tally.

Beyond that, there's a whole bunch of other data geek goodness in this report as well, including:

  • A 19% increase in enrollment over the 2015 enrollment period
  • 35% more of their enrollees received APTC assistance this year than last
  • 22% more dental plan enrollees
  • 3,776 SHOP enrollees (via 472 small businesses)

In addition, they provide some nice demographic breakouts:

By Age:

  • 19.6% are 0-25
  • 18.4% are 26-34
  • 15.6% are 35-44
  • 18.2% are 45-54
  • 27.2% are 55_

That's a total of 38% who are under 35, which is slightly higher than the 36% national average. Unfortunately, they broke it out at 25 instead of 18, so there's no "millennial" bracket listed (18-34).

52% of their returning enrollees switched to a different insurance carrier, which is understandable given that one of the largest carriers, HealthOP, went out of business anyway.

Metal Levels:

  • 45.5% Bronze (75,947)
  • 44.0% Silver (73,466)
  • 6.9% Gold (11,486)
  • 0.9% Platinum (1,438)
  • 2.7% Catastrophic (4,560)

This is rather disturbing, actually. Nationally, around 68% of QHP enrollees chose Silver vs. just 23% choosing Bronze plans. 

However, Norris has some thoughts on the reason for this:

Connect for Health Colorado also has a much higher than average percentage of enrollees who don’t qualify for premium subsidies (39 percent, as opposed to a 22 percent average in state-based exchanges and a 15 percent average in states). That could account for some of the affinity for bronze plans, since they tend to be popular among healthy applicants who have the financial means to cover the out-of-pocket exposure on a bronze plan.

Bronze plans were also more popular in Colorado than in other states in 2014 and 2015, but 2016 is the first year that bronze plan selections have outnumbered silver in Colorado.

There's a bunch of other stuff in the report, but these are the main points I noticed.