Connecticut

Oops. Last week I reported that Access Health CT appeared to state that they had a total of 114,421 QHP selections during the current open enrollment period. The wording was slightly squirrelly ("currently active for 2016 and/or 2017"), especially since I also knew there were around 12,000 existing enrollees who still hadn't chosen a new policy...but an earlier update had given the number as "around 113,000" in a seemingly less-confusing way, so I assumed that all 114,421 applied to 2017.

It turns out I may have been wrong after all:

ACCESS HEALTH CT ENROLLS 104,495 SO FAR FOR 2017 HEALTHCARE COVERAGE
Consumers have until January 31, 2017 to sign up for coverage

This is just a minor update from a few days ago, but the article does a nice job of breaking the numbers out so it seems worth closing the year out with this Access Health CT update:

The numbers below are as of the end of day on Dec. 29 are:

The last hard enrollment number I had for Connecticut was 108,105 people enrolled through December 13, just 2 days before the original deadline for January coverage. However, like most states, CT bumped their deadline out an extra few days, so they ended up with 4 more days to sign people up before the January cut-off. It turns out they tacked on another 5,000 people in that time:

Access Health CT, the organization responsible for enrolling people in Obamacare, did not release numbers on how many people are enrolled in policies that take effect Jan. 1. Instead, they released a combined number of who's enrolled now and who will be enrolled next year: 113,161.

...Access Health CT noted that nearly 12,000 people who are currently enrolled are in plans that will not exist next year and are therefore not covered. They can still re-enroll, but they'll have a gap in coverage in January.

At this point in 2015, 100,314 people were scheduled to have Obamacare insurance coverage on Jan. 1, 2016.

I'm genuinely surprised by this. While deadline extensions and "overtime periods" were all the rage during the first two Open Enrollment Periods, there were only a handful of states which bumped their deadlines out last year, and I was honestly expecting every state to stick with their original dates this time around.

Instead, yesterday Covered California announced a 2-day extension of their enrollment deadline for coverage starting in January; today, the Connecticut exchange announced the same:

LT. GOV. WYMAN, ACCESS HEALTH CT CEO JIM WADLEIGH, ANNOUNCE OPEN ENROLLMENT EXTENSION

Consumers Have Until December 17, 2016 to Enroll in Healthcare Coverage That Begins on January 1, 2017

Hmmm...the Colorado exchange hasn't issued an official enrollment update since the end of November, when it stood at 37,142 QHPs.

Today, in an article about the overall national numbers (mainly noting today's Week 5/6 Snapshot report), Kimberly Leonard of U.S. News & World Report cited a number I haven't seen elsewhere; I presume she simply called up the exchange directly. It seems about right to me:

Open enrollment began a week before Election Day, and several states reported that they didn't begin running ads until after that, saying they didn't want to compete with the attention the election was getting and noting that space sold during that time was particularly expensive.

That was the choice for Colorado, where enrollment is 16.3 percent higher than last year, totalling 50,207 people.

In addition, Leonard provides a couple of quick updates/corrections for some other states:

Access Health CT gave a quasi-update today as part of a "Deadline Coming Up!" press release:

“The deadline to have coverage starting the first of the year is this week,” said CEO Wadleigh. “We’re seeing huge numbers of people enrolling – which is amazing. We want people to have coverage, that’s for sure. But what we want most of all is for Connecticut to be healthy. We’re on the right track – we’ve seen over 16,000 people sign up for 2017 coverage since November 1st.”

The Connecticut ACA exchange, AccessHealthCT, issued a press release today reminding Connecticut residents in general of the December 15th deadline for January 1st coverage. They also stressed, however, that while most current enrollees will be automatically renewed into either their existing policy, there are about 26,000 current enrollees who can't be auto-renewed because their carrier is leaving the exchange in 2017:

On December 1st, AHCT’s automatic renewal process began. The AHCT eligibility system will automatically enroll into 2017 coverage customers who have selected auto-renew and whose plans are still available. “But, there are 26,000 people who currently have coverage through AHCT who cannot auto-renew and must take action to renew their 2017 plans,” Wadleigh noted. Wadleigh reminds all customers “they should shop around and compare your options for 2017– that’s the purpose of the marketplace.”

As I've noted before, Connecticut has an unusual policy for reporting 2017 QHP selections. Instead of reporting the number of renewing enrollees + new additions, they start out by assuming every current enrollee will be renewed for the upcoming year, add the new additions and the subtract those who actively choose not to renew their policy. Technically, this makes it look like Connecticut has already broken 100,000 enrollees for 2017--over 80% of their enrollment target number--even though we're only 4 weeks into the enrollment period. As a result, I can't really give an accurate "enrolled for 2017" number until the third week of December, when every state has officially entered their autorenewed enrollees into the system. 

Having said that, they are reporting the number of new enrollees signing up on a fairly regular basis:

Yesterday, the Access Health CT board meeting presentation gave the 2017 QHP selection tally as (I think) 9,455 renewals plus 6,630 new additions for a total of 16,085 people, though it's a little confusingly presented.

Today they issued a press release which bumps up the "new enrollee" tally to 7,043 as of 11/17.

They don't really break out the "renewal" number, so I'm not certain what the total is, but assuming the 9,455 figure is accurate, that brings it up to 16,498, or 970/day.

The Access Health CT board held their monthly meeting this morning, including their first official 2017 Open Enrollment Period enrollment numbers. This slide is a little confusing but I think I've figured it out:

If I'm reading this correctly, it looks like they currently have 85,250 people enrolled in effectuated exchange policies. 9,455 have actively renewed/re-enrolled into either their existing policy or a different one, plus another 5,570 brand-new enrollees who have signed up, for a total of 15,025 QHP selections for 2017.

What's confusing me is that they also say that "100,275 are currently enrolled"...which you only get by adding all 3 of those numbers together, which makes little sense to me.

I'm watching the livestream of the AccessHealthCT board meeting. Among other stuff, they're announcing three major changes/improvements for OE4:

First, it sounds like ConnectCare (the largest carrier on the CT exchange) is jumping on the "standardized plan" bandwagon, by offering what they call "Passage" exchange plans:

  • HMO-style, $5 co-pay for Primary Care Physician (PCP) visits (pre-deductible)
  • The Silver "Passage" plan would have a flat $50specialist co-pay
  • High-quality PC network included
  • Simple/easy to understand standardized plans
  • also offering "Passage" plans to small group / Medicare enrollees

--Standardized plans help but not enough; still lots of confusion about process, what's included/not included, etc; launching 4 retail "ConnectiCare Centers" to help people shop, enroll, member services, billing/payment issues, health/wellness assessments, education/outreach events

--CliniSanitas: Multicultural health delivery for hispanic/etc. members (3 centers; 100% bilingual services)

RATE REVIEW:

Over the past week or so there was a lot of tense negotiations and confusion about whether or not ConnectiCare, the 2nd largest carrier on Connecticut's exchange and the largest in CT's individual market overall, would bail on participating on AccessHealthCT next year. They bumped up their rate hike request not once but twice, from 14.3% to 17.4% to 27.1%, and when state regulators stuck with 17.4% and refused to budge any higher, they threatened to file a lawsuit and drop out of the exchange. As of last Friday, it looked like they were indeed pulling out.

I waited until yesterday (Tuesday) to post anything because I wanted to be sure about where things stood...but then, a few minutes later, it turned out that CTCare reversed itself at the last minute after all:

Days after declaring it would leave the state’s health insurance exchange, ConnectiCare has decided not to drop out of the marketplace, much to the relief of many — including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Lots of stuff happening fast & furious these days as #OE4 approaches. Instead of individual posts, I'm gonna cram 7 state updates into a single one...and am also cheating a bit by cribbing off of excellent work by Louise Norris over at healthinsurance.org (which is fair, since she also gets some of her data from me as well):

ALABAMA: Here's what my requested rate hike table looked like for Alabama on August 1st:

Updates: Norris Confirms that:

The Connecticut average requested rate hike has jumped around a lot over the summer. It started out at roughly 21.3% back in June, then increased to 22.2% after the HealthyCT Co-Op announced they were closing up shop. Then, several of the carriers submitted revised rate hike requests, bumping the average up further to around 26.8%.

Well, over the holiday weekend, the CT Mirror reports that the CT Dept. of Insurance released their response to the requests. There were also yet more last-minute filing changes. I've updated the spreadsheet with both the final requests as well as the approvals...but there are a copule of major blank spaces I still have to fill in:

Most Connecticut health insurance plans sold through individual and small group markets will undergo steep rate hikes next year, although in some cases, the prices will not go up by as much as carriers had sought.

OK, make that four states in which at least one major carrier has submitted an updated rate filing request since I originally estimated the statewide average.

Back in June, Connecticut's insurance dept. announced that the half-dozen carriers offering individual policies in the state were requesting an average rate hike of 21.3%:

Shortly after that, however, HealthyCT became the latest ACA-created Co-Op to fail, meaning their 16,000 or so current enrollees will have to shop around for new coverage next year. I revised the numbers accordingly and the average request bumped up a bit to 22.2%...

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