Charles Gaba's blog

Well, it's not much, but we have our first official 2024 ACA Open Enrollment Period enrollment report, out of Connecticut:

Via Access Health CT's News/Press Releases page:

Stats as of November 10, 2023

Qualified Health Plans (QHP):

  • QHP Enrollment In 2023 Coverage: 11,319
  • 2024 OE Acquisition Summary: 3,081


  • Completed applications/redeterminations processed through the integrated eligibility system: 7,283

It's my understanding that "Acquisition Summary" refers to CT residents who are brand-new enrollees (never enrolled via the exchange before).

The report was posted this morning so it obviously only includes enrollment data through yesterday (Nov. 9th).

It's worth noting that last year, Access Health CT reported enrolling 10,011 people through Nov. 10th (one extra day since Nov. 1st fell on a Tuesday last year).

OK, there isn't supposed to be a formal Open Enrollment Period report out for another week, but President Biden just tweeted out a pretty impressive topline number for the first week of the 2024 ACA Open Enrollment Period:

In the first week of Open Enrollment, 1.6 million people have signed up for a plan at HealthCare.Gov, including 301,000 new consumers – that’s a 50% increase from last year.

Join them by visiting HealthCare.Gov today.

— President Biden (@POTUS) November 9, 2023

This is excellent news, but it does bear some analysis even without any additional details being included.

Originally posted 9/13/23; updated 11/08/23

via the Washington Insurance Dept.:

Fourteen health insurers have been approved to sell in Washington's 2024 individual health insurance market.  Insurers requested an average increase of 9.11% but 8.94% was approved. How much premium someone pays will depend on the plan they select, the number of people covered, their age, whether or not they smoke and where they live. 

Originally posted 10/31/23; updated 11/08/23

Back in September, Amy Lotven of Inside Health Policy found an excellent scoop from a new CMS report hiding in plain sight:

New CMS data, quietly released in late August, show about 178,000 consumers chose a qualified health plan (QHP) through a state or federal exchanges after losing Medicaid and CHIP coverage in the first two months of the Medicaid unwinding. Those sign-ups through the end of May are more than three times the 54,000 enrollments that CMS reported in July, which reflected only the April numbers.

Originally posted 8/18/23; updated 11/08/23

West Virginia is yet another state where I'm unable to acquire unredacted actuarial memos and/or filing summaries in order to run weighted average rate changes, so I have to settle for unweighted averages. On the other hand, on the individual market, at least, WV only has three carriers and their requested rate changes for 2024 are in a very narrow range anyway (from flat to a 2.1% increase), so it doesn't matter much.

The good news is that West Virginia's individual market rates are only increasing by around 1% next year, one of the lowest avg. rate increases in the country.

The bad news is that West Virginia already has by far the highest unsubsidized individual market rates in the nation, at nearly $1,200 per month (second highest this year is Wyoming at $965/month).

In any event, small group market carriers are requesting an unweighted average increase of 9.6% overall.

UPDATE 11/08/23: State regulators increased the rate h ikes from 1.1% to 3.0% for CareSource, but otherwise left the other carriers on both markets as is.

via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):

User-friendly tool helps identify hospitals and health systems committed to providing high-quality maternity care

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin displaying the ‘Birthing-Friendly’ designation icon on CMS’s Care Compare online tool. CMS created the new designation to identify hospitals and health systems that participate in a statewide or national perinatal quality improvement collaborative program and that implement evidence-based care to improve maternal health.

Originally posted 8/17/23; updated 11/08/23

As always, the Texas individual and small group markets are pretty messy. For starters, they have up to 20 individual market carriers depending on the year, along with over a dozen small group market carriers some years.

On top of that, as is also the case in some other states, some of the names of the insurance carriers can be confusing as hell. There's the "Insurance company of Scott & White" which seems to have changed its name to "Baylor Scott & White Insurance Co.," which isn't to be confused with "Scott & White Health Plans" and so on.

In addition, this year there seem to be a lot of carriers bailing on the Texas market altogether: Ambetter, Ascension and FirstCare appear to be pulling out of the states individual market, while Aetna (up to four different divisions?) along with Humana are leaving the small group market.

Every month for years now, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) has published a monthly press release with a breakout of total Medicare, Medicaid & CHIP enrollment; the most recent one was posted in late February, and ran through November 2022.

Since December 2022, however, they haven't sent out the normal press release; instead, they included a brief note leading to a Medicaid/CHIP data slideshow , along with another note leading to their new Medicare Monthly Enrollment database.

In any event, according to the spreadsheet I exported, as of July 2023:

Originally posted 8/21/23; updated 11/08/23

Wisconsin has the most competitive ACA markets in the country, at least in terms of the sheer number of insurance carriers offering policies on both the individual (14) and small group (18) markets. They're losing two carriers in 2024 (WPS Health Plan in both markets and Humana in the small group market only), but it's still pretty robust.

The bad news is that it's once again extremely difficult to acquire Wisconsin's actual rate filings prior to the actual Open Enrollment Period launching, meaning I can only run unweighted average requested rate increases/decreases.

With that in mind, individual market carriers are requesting unweighted increases of around 6.8% (ranging from 1% - 15.7%), while small group carriers are seeking hikes of around 7% overall, ranging from a 25.9% reduction (wow!) to a 16.3% increase.

UPDATE 11/08/23: No changes to any of the individual market rate requests; a couple of slight changes to the small group carriers.


Originally posted 8/21/23; updated 11/08/23

The bad news for Wyoming residents who earn too much to qualify for any federal ACA subsidies is that the state has the second highest unsubsidized premiums in the country after West Virginia. The good news is that, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, there are far more residents who do qualify for federal subsidies, which chop those premiums down to no more than 8.5% of their income.

The other good news for them is that for 2024, average premiums across the two insurance carriers which participate on the ACA exchange pretty much cancel each other out, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming dropping their average premiums by 7% even as the Montana Health Co-Op seeks to raise theirs by 7.6%. Unfortunately, once again, I've been unable to get ahold of enrollment data for each carrier so this is an unweighted average only; if, say, 90% of enrollees are in Montana Co-Op plans, the weighted average would obviously be more like a 6% increase or whatever.