New York State of Health releases 2019 Open Enrollment Period report

I'm not sure how this slipped by me, but NY State of Health (New York's ACA exchange) released their official 2019 Open Enrollment Period report about a week ago:

NY State of Health Releases 2019 Open Enrollment Report

  • Essential Plan and Qualified Health Plan Enrollment Reach Record Levels 

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 9, 2019)—NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace, today released detailed demographic data on the more than 4.7 million New Yorkers enrolled in comprehensive health coverage through the close of the sixth open enrollment period on January 31, 2019. Marketplace enrollment is now at its highest point ever, and Essential Plan and Qualified Health Plan enrollment reached record levels of more than 1 million people.

“It’s evident in the numbers released today that there is high demand for quality, affordable health coverage,” said NY State of Health Executive Director, Donna Frescatore. “The 2019 record enrollment levels are proof that New York’s Marketplace remains strong.”

NY State of Health 2019 Open Enrollment Report Highlights

  • 4.7 Million New Yorkers Enrolled

More than 4.7 million New Yorkers were enrolled in coverage through NY State of Health as of January 31, 2019, an increase of more than 435,000 people from 2018. Aligned with these enrollment gains, New York has seen a significant corresponding reduction in the number of uninsured from 10 percent in 2013, when the Marketplace opened, to below five percent today.  

It's important to note, as Bill Hammond did back in February, that the bulk of this increase in on-exchange enrollment is simply a matter of the state shifting off-exchange Medicaid enrollees into the on-exchange database. Around 322,000 New Yorkers enrolled in Medicaid via the legacy system were ported over to the NYSoH system instead. This is still a good thing, of coruse, but it doesn't mean that 322,000 people were suddenly added to the Medicaid roles.

  • Choice of Health Plans in Every NYS County 

New Yorkers have a broad choice of affordable and quality health plan options through the Marketplace in every county of the state. Statewide, 12 health insurers offer Qualified Health Plans (QHP) to individuals and nine also offer plans to small businesses. Throughout the 2019 Open Enrollment Period, most QHP consumers had a choice of at least four individual market insurer options.

Sixteen health insurers offer coverage to Essential Plan enrollees through the Marketplace, while 18 insurers offer Medicaid and 16 offer Child Health Plus (CHP). Eleven insurers participate in all individual market programs offered through NY State of Health.

  • Affordability, Stability in Individual Market

More than 58 percent of QHP enrollees receive financial assistance to lower the cost of their coverage. On average, these QHP enrollees receive $335 a month in federal tax credits to reduce the cost of coverage, up from an average tax credit of $296 in 2018. In aggregate, New Yorkers are expected to receive more than $636 million in tax credits during 2019. As a result, many consumers who receive tax credits saw little or no increase in monthly costs from 2018. 

On average, Essential Plan enrollees spend $1,485 less per year on premiums and out-of-pocket costs than if they were enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan. In aggregate, this amounts to $719 million per year.

Taken together, enrollment in the Essential Plan and QHPs increased by 70,000 (seven percent) between 2018 and 2019, from just over 990,000 to more than 1 million people (1,062,000).

It's important to note that the reason only 58% of NY QHP enrollees receive tax credits (vs. the national average of around 83%) is because a big chunk of those who would otherwise be receiving them are enrolled in the Essential Plan (BHP) instead.

  • The Small Business Marketplace 

NY State of Health’s Small Business Marketplace (SBM) saw record insurer and employer participation in 2019. The number of small employers participating in the SBM has grown to over 12,000, an increase of 465 percent since April 2018. After shifting to direct enrollment through insurers or brokers in April 2018, NY State of Health's SBM has significantly increased insurer participation, growing from five to nine insurers since early 2018, and expanded its plan offerings to over 2,000 statewide. 

Again: This isn't a bad thing, but it's a bit misleading; it's not so much that 4.6x as many companies moved their employees over to the NY SHOP system, it's more of a categorization thing.

Reaching Consumers

NY State of Health was committed to getting its positive messages out to consumers during the Open Enrollment Period through the “You Deserve Affordable Health Care” advertising campaign, at more than 300 community outreach events, by distributing 2.7 million pieces of educational material, and by sending nearly four million emails to consumers reminding them of important steps needed to complete their enrollment. New Yorkers continued to use all enrollment channels this year – in person, phone and website – with in-person assistance by far the most popular enrollment option. In 2019, more than 3.7 million, or 78 percent of individuals, enrolled with the help of an in-person assistor, including navigators, certified application counselors and licensed insurance brokers. 

The complete 2019 Open Enrollment Report including detailed demographic data is available on NY State of Health website here.