There are many ways of getting a society to “do the right thing”. Many years ago, as I was driving into San Francisco across the Bay Bridge, traffic was at a crawl – except for two lanes labeled Car Pool. Those cars whizzed by and their drivers didn’t even have to stop to pay the road toll. Life can be so unfair to a lonely guy in a BMW or Porsche.
Above the highway was a billboard advertising, in large letters, the Car Pool Switchboard; its sole function was to hook up people regularly commuting from one place to another at roughly the same time. Saving a few dimes by sharing gas expenses, or even being forgiven a couple of bucks in road toll, may not have seemed like much of an incentive – but getting to work (and home) 20–30 minutes faster each day, most certainly was!
As we recall, HealthCare.gov and most state insurance exchanges moved their enrollment deadline for January 2014 coverage, first from 12/15 to 12/23, then to 12/28 or as close to the New Year as possible.
That, however, will not be the case for February coverage. That deadline is firm – and it is today.
Thus the number of enrollment days in January will be roughly half that of December. Or to put it in an amusing way: January is almost half a month shorter than December. We must bear this in mind when examining any statistics of how many people have ACA-compliant insurance on February 1st, not drawing overly hasty conclusions about the declining enrollment rate.
Yesterday, HHS extended its coverage of people in the Federal High-Risk Pool. The new deadline is March 15th, coinciding with the deadline for the ACA’s open enrollment. This adjustment will help ensure a smoother transition for patients with pre-existing conditions.
Already, more than 55,000 of the 85,000 people that were in the PCIP programs per October 1st have enrolled in other healthcare plans. This is a reduction of at least 65 %. According to HHS, less than 30,000 people now remain in the federal high-risk pool.
Since it was launched in late 2010, the PCIP program, has provided coverage for a total of 135,000 people with serious pre-existing conditions who would otherwise have unable to obtain insurance.
There is an 8 % difference between the genders: 54 % of those who have selected a Marketplace plan are women, while men account for only 46 %. Men are in the majority in only two states: Connecticut (54 %) and Hawaii (51 %), whereas the District of Columbia was evenly split per 12/28.
It’s also worth noting that in the District of Columbia, so-called “young invincibles” (enrollees between 18–34 years of age) account for 44 %, while in Massachusetts HHS pegs the portion to be 31 %. Nationally, people 34 years of age or younger account for 30 % of the enrollment, and 18–34 year olds account for just over 24 %.
CGI, which has been responsible for development, failed to deliver a working website. Worse than that: after three months, there is still no indication that CGI has the competency required to fix the website.
We’re seeing many types of outreach efforts to reach the uninsured. Navigators are doing their utmost (at least in states where their work is not being obstructed), and many church groups are addressing their congregations. Nevada has mounted a concerted door-to-door effort. Here are the results, as reported by Allison Bell.
Exchange managers want the canvassers to reach 450,800 people who seem likely to need individual or family health insurance. Mi Familia Vota says it made 53,052 total attempts from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. The organization’s workers talked to people in 7,935 homes, or 18 percent of the homes in the target area, and generated 661 enrollment appointment leads. The canvassers found 8,377 households were inaccessible, and no one was home in 33,875. In 5,596, the residents already had health coverage. In 806 of the homes, residents refused to talk to the canvassers.
About half of those who applied for coverage effective Jan 1 were turned away because their applications were not fully filled out, state officials have said. Instead, they'll be processed for insurance effective Feb. 1.
If Oracle had delivered a working website to Cover Oregon, then online applicants would immediately have received feedback that they needed to fill in more information. Clearly this is an added source of frustration for Oregonians who had every reason to think that their paper application was complete and in order.
On the other hand, this speaks to a huge potential. If Cover Oregon can assist those 20,000 applicants quickly, that alone should double the state’s enrollment numbers! Who knows – with dedication and luck, Cover Oregon might well achieve that before the end of January.
The problems with the Obama Administration’s rollout of HealthCare.gov are reminiscent of the troubled rollout of the Medicare Part D expansion under President George W. Bush. In a candid interview with Kaiser Health News, former Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt offers telling details of their technical problems – and the Bush Administration’s solution.
…people were walking up to the pharmacy counter to get their drugs and their name wasn’t in the computer. Ultimately, we had to say, ‘give them their drugs, and we’ll work it out later.’ Then we spent 15 or 18 months working it out later. It was an expensive proposition and less than ideal. But it allowed the limited number of people who were having problems with the system to have their human needs met.”
By contrast, the Obama Administration has spent just over three months working out glitches of HealthCare.gov, which was launched on October 1st, 2013. Perhaps after 15–18 months have passed, we can do a more complete comparison with President George W. Bush’s rollout of Medicare Part D?
It is well known, and highly embarrassing, that Oregon has yet to enroll a single person in a new insurance plan online. Since the 1st of October, Cover Oregon has had to do it all by hand, based on paper applications.
That, of course stands in stark contrast to today’s situation. In the course of three months, Cover Oregon has managed to enroll just 18,000 people in private insurance plans – and towering piles of applications are still awaiting the attention of their stressed case workers.