Washington: WAHBX releases Spring Health Coverage Enrollment Report

via the Washington HealthPlanFinder (aka the Washington Health Benefit Exchange):

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today released its Spring Health Coverage Enrollment Report detailing the more than 1.6 million customers – one in four Washingtonians – who used Washington Healthplanfinder to access their 2019 health insurance coverage.

Nearly 200,000 customers used the state’s online marketplace to purchase a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) for coverage this year, adding to the more than 1.4 million residents who connected with free or low-cost health insurance through Washington Apple Health. In several rural counties (Adams, Grant, Okanogan, Pacific and Yakima), nearly half of the population relied on Washington Healthplanfinder to enroll in a 2019 health insurance plan.

“More than 80% of the individual market in our state depends on Washington Healthplanfinder to purchase their health insurance,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Our updated enrollment totals speak to a changing marketplace where customers look to us for affordable coverage options and trust our efforts to bring quality products to Washington state.”

...A key takeaway also included in the report is that a record high number of QHP enrollees are returning customers. Over 80% of total QHP customers in 2019 also purchased coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder in 2018.

“Customers understand the value of their health insurance,” added MacEwan. “As we increase coverage options in our state, we hope to introduce more affordable products that continue to benefit our returning customers and encourage new customers to connect with a health insurance plan that meets their needs.”

Additional takeaways highlighted in the Exchange’s sixth-year open enrollment report:

  • Washington Healthplanfinder continues to meet customers where they are. Half of all Washington Healthplanfinder customers used a mobile phone or tablet to access their account information. The WAPlanfinder mobile app also topped 64,000 downloads since its introduction in 2017.
  • Smart Planfinder sees spike in usage in its second year. The Smart Planfinder decision-support tool was used by nearly 80,000 Washington Healthplanfindercustomers as they shopped for coverage during open enrollment. Introduced in 2017, the decision-support tool recommends health plans based on expected utilization, prescription coverage and provider coverage.

Individuals currently without health and dental insurance who have experienced a qualifying life event may shop for and enroll in 2019 coverage using a special enrollment period. Those customers who qualify may apply for a special enrollment period by creating a new Washington Healthplanfinder account or reporting a change to their existing account.

Residents who do not qualify for a special enrollment period must wait to sign up for health and dental coverage until the start of the next open enrollment period on Nov. 1.

Here's some of the key graphs/data points from the report itself (I've added in a few additional stats here and there from the CMS OEP 2019 report as well):

COVERAGE

  • There are 5 counties that have 40% or more of their population covered by Washington Healthplanfinder (Adams, Okanogan, Yakima, Grant, and Pacific)
  • Nearly 200,000 Qualified Health Plan enrollees, first ever decrease by 6% from last year
  • Highest annual rate for returning enrollees
  • 40 unique health plans
  • 7 Qualified Health Plan carriers
  • Increased number of enrollees selecting bronze plans
  • Residents in 14 counties are limited to a single health plan carrier option
  • 20% of Qualified Health Plan enrollees enrolled in dental coverage
  • 5 Qualified Dental Plan carriers

COST

  • Average Qualified Health Plan base premium cost increased by $55 to $568 per person a month • Continued increase in number of customers who receive financial help
  • Non-subsidized customers pay up to 32% of income on their premium
  • Nearly 60,000 enrollees are in a plan with a deductibe over $9,000

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

  • Over 50% of customers accessed Washington Healthplanfinder through their mobile device
  • Customers have broad access to enrollment assistance
    • 1,800 registered brokers
    • 904 navigators, tribal assisters, and certified application counselors • Customer support answered 195,000 calls