Colorado: @C4HCO issues 2021 OEP report; nearly 10K new SEP enrollees thru 4/07

This just in via Connect for Health Colorado:

More Coloradans Than Ever Are Using Colorado’s Exchange to Get Covered

DENVER — In a report released today by Connect for Health Colorado, nearly 180,000 Coloradans signed up for a health insurance plan by the end of the Open Enrollment Period on Jan. 15 for 2021 coverage. The new report includes more detailed information about changes to premium costs and financial help by county, the improved customer experience and our outreach tactics.

The main number here is nothing new; C4HCO had already announced the 180K figure back in January. The report itself contains a ton of key demographic stats & details, however, which I'll get to below.

And, since re-opening enrollment for uninsured Coloradans on Feb. 8, an additional 9,971 people have signed up for a health plan. That means Colorado’s Exchange has enrolled more people this year than in any previous year of our operation, and enrollment continues to remain open through at least Aug. 15.

C4HCO had previously announced around 4,700 new SEP enrollees thru 3/05, or 180/day. This update shows that the pace dropped off slightly over the rest of March, but not by much; that's 5,288 more from 3/06 - 4/07, or 160/day, a mere 11% daily drop. Overall, CO's SEPs have averaged 169/day since 2/08...and again, the vast bulk of this happened before the expanded subsidies went live on the C4HCO website.

As I noted last month, I don't know exactly how many Special Enrollment Period (SEP) enrollees they had during the same time period in prior years, but I can estimate based on their monthly dashboards:

  • February 2020: 4,009 SEP enrollments, or 138/day
  • 2020 Feb/Mar: 167/day
  • February 2019: 2,787 SEP enrollments, or 100/day
  • 2019 Feb/Mar: 96/day
  • February 2018: 3,427 SEP enrollments, or
    • March 2018: 3,192 SEP enrollments, or 103 per day
  • 2018 Feb/Mar: 112/day

So far, CO's 2021 SEP enrollment is running 51% higher than 2018, 76% higher than 2019 and just slightly higher than 2020...which actually makes sense since most of the 2020 period now falls within the COVID era, and C4HCO did launch their own open-ended COVID SEP last year as well (it didn't start until March 20th, but they racked up over 10,000 SEPs during that initial panic period).

As a Medicaid expansion state, the comparison against 2018 & 2019 isn't surprising; other expansion states averaged around 110% higher than in 2019.

“I’m so pleased by the response we’ve seen to keeping our doors open and knowing that more Coloradans have access to health care this year,” said Chief Executive Officer Kevin Patterson. “I continue to remind people who need coverage to sign up now. We have experts ready to help you and your family navigate your health coverage options.”

Curious about other findings from the enrollment report? We’ve broken down the key takeaways for Coloradans looking for affordable health coverage and considering using Connect for Health Colorado:

  • People who use Connect for Health Colorado can qualify for financial help and save money on health insurance costs. On average, people who qualified for financial help for this year are paying $152 per month for their health insurance coverage.
  • There’s more health insurance plan choice than ever before. Eight health insurance companies, plus two cooperative alliances, are offering a total of 159 medical plans through our Marketplace.
  • There’s a lot of enrollment assistance available, and people are using it to get covered. We have 919 Brokers and Assisters in total across the state helping people enroll this year.58% of all customers used a Broker to help them enroll and pick the right plan, and 6% of customers went to a community-based Assister for expert application help.
  • Using an Enrollment Center increases the likelihood you’ll get the financial help you qualify for. Guided by our plan experts- Brokers and Assisters- in local communities, customers who connected with an Enrollment Center received help at a higher rate (77% statewide, 81% in rural areas) than the overall rate of 69%.
  • Coverage for people in rural counties is increasingly affordable. For a second year in a row, the majority of the largest increases in enrollments came from rural counties. Customers receiving financial help in rural counties paid slightly less ($151) for their selected plan premiums than customers receiving financial help in urban counties ($153).
  • More people are returning to Colorado’s Exchange to get covered each year. 83% of our customers returned to our Marketplace to find quality, affordable coverage to protect their health and finances this year.

Connect for Health Colorado publishes monthly updates on total medical enrollments, as we continue to enroll Coloradans throughout the year.

Starting this month, more Coloradans will be able to get more financial help than ever before on their health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado as a result of the American Rescue Plan (also known as the COVID relief package).

As for the 2021 OEP report itself, I've added some of the key slides below, though there's a ton of other important stuff not included (click each for higher-res version):