Pennsylvania: @PennieOfficial announces 337.7K QHPs, re-opening #COVID19 Enrollment Period from 2/15 - 5/15

The new Pennsylvania ACA exchange, Pennie, just issued their final official 2021 Open Enrollment report and (as expected) is also joining most other states in re-opening for a COVID-19 Enrollment Period:

Press Release – Pennie Exceeds Expectations & Extends Enrollment for COVID-19

  • As a state-based marketplace, Pennie increases new enrollment by 9.7% and raises total enrollment to nearly 338,000. Now, Pennie is offering more time to enroll in plans for those affected by COVID-19.
  • Pennsylvanians who have recently lost health coverage or have been affected by COVID-19 can visit pennie.com and enroll in a plan from February 15 through May 15.

Harrisburg, PA – February 3, 2021 – By the end of Pennie’s inaugural Open Enrollment nearly 338,000 Pennsylvanians enrolled in coverage, a more than 5,000 increase over last year. Over 75,000 new customers enrolled in coverage through Pennie, a 9.7 percent year-over-year increase. Through the implementation of a state-based marketplace and the premium savings realized through the Pennsylvania Reinsurance Program, the Commonwealth has expanded access to quality health coverage, seamlessly transitioned from Healthcare.Gov and connected more customers to the financial assistance for which they were eligible.

Due to the continued public health risks of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth and in-line with President Biden’s recent Executive Order, the Pennie Board of Directors unanimously approved the opening of a Special Enrollment Period to allow anyone impacted by COVID-19 more time to enroll in coverage. Anyone is eligible to enroll in coverage through Pennie beginning February 15 and until May 15.

The PR includes some graphics, including one with the hard numbers:

  • 337,722 total enrollees during OEP 2021
  • 75,222 new customers (262,500 renewals)
  • 4% avg. premium reduction ($515 avg. APTC assistance)

Last year, 331,825 people selected QHPs during OEP 2020 in Pennsylvania, so this is indeed an increase of 5,897 enrollees, or about 1.8% year over year. They had 68,509 new enrollees last year, so 75,222 is actually a 9.8% increase y/y on that front.

“Pennie is first and foremost here for all of those in Pennsylvania who need health coverage. We are happy to see our customer base grow and proud to serve hundreds of thousands of individuals and families across the Commonwealth,” said Pennie Executive Director Zachary W. Sherman. “Pennie’s support does not end with Open Enrollment. The economic and public health implications of the pandemic have been and continue to be destabilizing, impacting the lives of so many Pennsylvanians. Anyone without health insurance will have more time to sign up through Pennie, giving those eligible access to financial assistance and comprehensive coverage, including for COVID-19 related treatment and services. Starting on February 15, we encourage uninsured Pennsylvanians to visit pennie.com to explore their options and get coverage.”

Nearly 9 out of 10 Pennie customers receive financial assistance, and the savings increased this year. Average monthly premiums decreased 4 percent year-over-year and customers receiving Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTCs) are paying 13.5 percent on average less this year. The average monthly APTC for eligible customers is $515.

Through Pennie’s ‘no wrong door’ policy, over 44,000 households were transferred to either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for more significant savings. In return, Pennie is currently helping over 30,000 households who were denied Medicaid and CHIP to enroll in the best plan for themselves and their families through pennie.com.

Nearly 307,000 calls were handled by the Pennie Call Center throughout Open Enrollment, from November 1 through January 15, 2021, with an average wait time of just over two minutes. Customers were also provided free assistance when choosing a plan through Pennie’s certified Brokers and Assisters. Over 80,000 customers enrolled through Pennie-certified experts.

“Transitioning to a state-based marketplace and launching a reinsurance program allowed Pennsylvania to reclaim ownership of our individual health insurance market to the benefit of Commonwealth residents. Based on the choices customers made during open enrollment, the average plan cost through Pennie is 4 percent lower than last year and eligible Pennsylvanians are receiving $515 on average in financial assistance every month,” noted Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman. “Becoming a state-based marketplace also allows us the flexibility to provide more time for individuals to receive coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope any Pennsylvanian without health insurance will seek coverage to protect themselves and their families from the cost of COVID-19.”

All commercial, comprehensive health insurance plans available in the Commonwealth, including plans purchased through Pennie, cover: the COVID-19 test if patients are experiencing symptoms or have had an indication of exposure; treatment for the symptoms that develop due to COVID-19; and, the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. Not to mention, all other routine check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative treatments. For further details, visit the Pennie COVID-19 webpage.

Anyone who experiences a qualifying life event is eligible to enroll in a plan through Pennie throughout the year. Anyone seeking insurance due to the impact of COVID-19 can shop for coverage starting February 15. Pennie encourages anyone who has found themselves recently uninsured and is seeking coverage, and potentially financial assistance, to go to pennie.com or to call Pennie customer care at 1-844-844-8040.