Minnesota: @MNsure reports 122.3K QHPs during #OEP2021 (up 4% y/y...or 11%?)

This Just In from MNsure, Minnesota's state-based ACA exchange:

MNsure sees 4% increase in signups during this year's open enrollment period

  • More than 155,000 Minnesotans found coverage through MNsure.org

ST. PAUL, Minn.—From November 1 to December 22, 2020, more than 155,000 Minnesotans found health insurance coverage during MNsure's eighth open enrollment period. A total of 122,269 Minnesotans signed up for private health plans through the exchange, which is 4,729 more than the previous open enrollment period.

It's worth noting that the way MNsure categorizes ACA exchange enrollees is slightly different than how CMS does...according to the official 2020 Open Enrollment Period Report Public Use File, Minnesota only actually enrolled 110,042 people during last year's OEP. I'm not sure what happened to the 12,227 QHP selection difference, but assuming this year's 122.3K figure holds by CMS, it means they're actually up 11.1% year over year, not just 4.0%.

However, this is an annual thing for MNsure...the number of QHP enrollments included in their end-of-OEP press release is always several thousand higher than what CMS reports a few months later. I can't recall whether this is due to them bundling small business (SHOP) QHPs in with the individual market or if it's a matter of cancelled policies or what, but we'll see.

Additionally, more than 33,000 Minnesotans received eligibility for low- or no-cost health care coverage through Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, Minnesota’s public health care programs.

“We are pleased to have connected so many Minnesotans to health insurance for 2021,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. "The global pandemic is a harsh reminder that comprehensive health coverage has never been more important, and every plan sold through MNsure offers the peace of mind that comes with knowing essential benefits like hospitalizations, emergency services and prescription drugs are covered."

Nearly 50 percent of households qualified for advanced premium tax credits (APTC), averaging over $4,900 a year.

Across the state, yearly APTC averages for households were:

  • Southeast Minnesota: $7,703
  • Northeast Minnesota: $5,819
  • Southwest Minnesota: $5,793
  • Twin Cities Metro: $3,822
  • Northwest Minnesota: $5,596 

if the 50% figure seems low, it's important to note that unlike most states where a good 85% or so of ACA exchange enrollees receive APTC, Minnesota (and New York) has the ACA's Basic Health Plan program in place (MinnesotaCare), which enrolls people under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level who would otherwise enroll in subsidized ACA plans instead.

Recent upgrades to MNsure’s shopping and enrollment platform improved the consumer experience and helped ensure smooth operations in MNsure’s eighth open enrollment period, resulting in lower call volumes in the Contact Center than in previous years, despite the increase in overall sign-ups.

By the numbers:

  • Private health plan sign-ups: 122,269 
  • Public program applicants: 33,111 
  • Total accessing coverage: 155,380 
  • Percentage of households receiving tax credits: 49% 
  • Average yearly tax credit by household: $4,942.58 
  • Call volume: 64,763
  • MNsure.org sessions: 1,259,612
  • Plan comparison tool sessions: 286,581

Though MNsure's open enrollment period has ended, there are still opportunities to enroll:

  • Low-cost or no-cost coverage through MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance is available for individuals who earn up to $25,520 in 2021 or for a family of four with a combined income of $52,400 or less in 2021. Enrollment in these programs is open year-round and enrollees receive comprehensive coverage. People with disabilities and people 65 or older have a different enrollment process and are encouraged to contact their county or tribe for assistance.
  • If you have recently lost or will lose your employer health insurance, you may still qualify to enroll for a special enrollment period. This special enrollment period is available year-round to qualifying individuals. To enroll, you must contact MNsure and pick a plan within 60 days of losing employer coverage. To avoid a gap in coverage, you can contact MNsure up to 60 days in advance of your employer’s plan ending to begin the enrollment process.
  • Minnesotans who experience another qualifying life event (such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or a move) may also be eligible to shop for coverage.
  • Enrolled members of a federally recognized American Indian tribe are eligible to enroll in a qualified health plan or change from one plan to another one time per month, year-round, including outside the annual open enrollment period.