UPDATE: Connecticut: @AccessHealthCT enrolls nearly 4x as many via COVID SEP than average so far; extends deadline another month

via Access Health CT:

Access Health CT Announces An Extension Of The Special Enrollment Period For Uninsured Residents Due To High Enrollment Volume

  • CT residents without health insurance can enroll in coverage until April 15, 2021
  • Since the Special Enrollment Period began on February 15, over 2,000 Connecticut residents have signed up through Access Health CT for coverage.
  • Access Health CT is extending its Special Enrollment Period for consumers who are not currently enrolled in coverage through AHCT.
  • Uninsured individuals can sign up for health insurance coverage through Access Health CT during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) extension from March 16 through April 15, 2021.
  • Individuals who experience a Qualifying Life Event (e.g., loss of coverage due to job change or unemployment) or qualify for Medicaid/Children’s Health Program (CHIP), can continue to enroll year-round.

This isn't terribly surprising. Until today, Connecticut's COVID SEP had the earliest deadline, and they made it clear in their initial announcement that they would "re-evaluate" the deadline once they approached it. Combined with the imminent passage of the American Rescue Plan and its dramatic expansion/enhancement of ACA subsidies, and bumping the deadline out by another month was a no-brainer.

2,000 SEP enrollees in 22 days is around 91 per day.

I can't compare Connecticut's SEP enrollments from 2/15 - 3/08 against the same time period in prior years, but:

Honestly, this makes it sound like Connecticut is only enrolling roughly the same number of people via SEPs that they normally would, but again, this is measuring a different time period (2/15 - 3/08 instead of 3/19 - 4/10), which can make a big difference, as SEP enrollment ebbs and flows throughout the year. You'd really have to compare the exact same dates to get a clear picture.

UPDATE 3/11/21: Whoa, nelly, did I get that estimate wrong! Access Health CT has provided me with a glimpse at what I'm assuming is an upcoming board meeting presentation slide listing SEP enrollments for the same time periods from 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021...and it's pretty eye-opening:

The average for the prior 3 years for the same time period was 725 apiece or around 30/day. For 2021? 2,818...117/day...or 3.89x as many. In fact, it's slightly higher than that (3.93x) since 2020 was also a leap year, so there's an extra day thrown in there. Connecticut didn't launch last-year's COVID SEP until March 19th, so this is still a "clean" apples to apples comparison.

Perhaps more significantly: Access Health CT's original figure was "over 2,000" over 22 days, or around 91/day. This update brings it to 2,818 over 24 days, or 117/day. If you take the "over 2,000" to mean literally 2,001, that means they added another 817 over the next 2 days, or 409/day. I'm assuming the actual "over 2K" was more like 2,100 or so, but even so, that still suggests a dramatic uptick in enrollment over the past few days. The only significant ACA development this week was, of course, the passage of the American Rescue Plan, so...

In any event, the extension and the ARP subsidy bumps should help.

HARTFORD, Conn. (March 9, 2021) — Due to the high volume of Connecticut residents enrolling since Access Health CT (AHCT) announced its initial Special Enrollment Period (February 15 – March 15, 2021) for uninsured residents, and as the COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat to public health, customers without health insurance can continue to enroll in a health plan during this extension of the Special Enrollment Period. The extension of the Special Enrollment Period will run from March 16 – April 15, 2021.

The Special Enrollment Period is for consumers who are not currently enrolled in coverage through AHCT. This effort aligns with the Special Enrollment Period in the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) and most importantly helps consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Public Health Emergency.

Special Enrollment Period coverage effective dates and guidelines are as follows:

  • Enroll from 3/16 - 3/31 for coverage effective May 1st
  • Enroll from 4/01 - 4/15 for coverage effective June 1st

Huh. That's a little weird, actually...normally if you enroll by the 15th of the month your coverage starts the 1st of the following month, so having the June 1st start instead of May 1st seems odd to me, but whatever.

  • Consumers will not be required to verify their eligibility for this Special Enrollment Period.
  • Consumers currently enrolled in coverage through AHCT will not be eligible to use this Special Enrollment Period to change plans.
  • Financial help will continue to be available to consumers who qualify.

“Collectively as the COVID-19 public health crisis continues, Access Health CT remains focused on the health and wellbeing of Connecticut residents,” said Chief Executive Officer at Access Health CT, James Michel. “And if you or someone you know is uninsured, please take the opportunity of this extended Special Enrollment Period to get covered. Access Health CT can help you enroll in an affordable, quality health insurance plan that is right for you and your family.”

Access Health CT reminds residents of the importance of maintaining their coverage throughout the year, and not just during this public health crisis. It is critical that uninsured individuals take advantage of this opportunity to protect their health, wellbeing and ensure they have access to needed services.

Access Health CT will continue to offer free help:

  • Online: AccessHealthCT.com (Live chat: AccessHealthCT.com click “Live Chat” icon)
  • Phone: 1-855-805-4325, Mon. – Fri. 8 AM – 4 PM
  • With Enrollment Specialists in the community
  • In-person help at either of AHCT’s Navigator partner locations**:
  • Project Access New Haven located at 63 York Street in New Haven, Conn.  
  • Community Renewal Team located at 330 Market Street in Hartford, Conn. 

**NOTE: These locations will welcome customers by appointment only with strict safety protocols (mask wearing, hand sanitizing, temperature checks, social distancing, and standard health questionnaire).