I'm still waiting on the 2017 requested rate changes for Minnesota's individual market, but there's one carrier which won't be asking for any changes: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota:
Minnesota's largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has decided to stop selling health plans to individuals and families in Minnesota starting next year. The insurer explained extraordinary financial losses drove the decision.
"Based on current medical claim trends, Blue Cross is projecting a total loss of more than $500 million in the individual [health plan] segment over three years," BCBSM said in a statement.
The Blues reported a loss of $265 million on insurance operations from individual market plans in 2015. The insurer said claims for medical care far exceeded premium revenue for those plans.
It's time to take a breather from my ongoing 2017 Rate Hike Request project to check in on a couple of off-season enrollment numbers. First up is Minnesota. Here's how the QHP tally (cumulative, not currently effectuated) has gone since open enrollment ended in the Land of 10,000 Lakes (note: Michigan actually has 11,000, so there!):
In a classic case of missing the forest for the trees, I posted two very wonky, detailed entries over the past couple of days about Minnesota and Connecticut's latest enrollment numbers...but completely missed one crucially important data point.
As everyone who's been following the ACA over the past few years knows, the October 2013 launch of HealthCare.Gov and 16 state-based marketplace websites was not one of the prouder moments in the Obama administration's history. The federal exchange (which covered 35 states at the time) was a disaster out of the gate, as well about half of the state-based websites.
Over the past three Open Enrollment Periods, of course, most of the technical headaches have been worked out of most of the sites. HealthCare.Gov operates like a dream now (update: well, relatively speaking, anyway) and major improvements have been made in most of the state exchanges as well. In 5 cases, the solution was to either scrap the original platform and start over (Maryland and Massachusetts) or to say "to hell with it", drop their own platform completely and move home to the Mothership (Oregon and Nevada in 2015; Hawaii starting this year). Washington State kept their own platform but gave up trying to handle billing for their enrollees, joining just about every other state in letting the carriers handle payments directly.
During the official Open Enrollment Period, MNsure enrolled 85,390 Minnesotans in Qualified Health Plans. Unlike most of the state exchanges (and HC.gov itself), MNsure has been dutifully continuing to update their data every month or so during the off season, providing an interesting glimpse into how the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is going:
3/07/16 - 4/17/16: 90,696 QHPs Cumulative since 11/01/15 (+3,840, or 91/day); 55,357 MNcare; 156,983 Medicaid
Didja notice that? While the private QHP enrollment rate obviously dropped off tremendously after open enrollment closed (duh!), the SEP enrollment rate has dramatically increased since then, from 21/day in early February, to 55/day in late Feb/early March, to 91 per day over the past month. While it's still just 10% of the Open Enrollment rate, over 4x as many people are signing up for QHPs via MNsure now as were at the start of the off season.
During the official Open Enrollment Period, MNsure enrolled 85,390 Minnesotans in Qualified Health Plans. Yesterday they held their March board meeting and updated their numbers through the first 5 weeks of the off season:
During Open Enrollment, MNsure averaged 928 QHP selections per day. During the off season, this has dropped down to 42 per day, or about 4.5% of the OE3 daily average.
If you extrapolate this nationally (and of course there's no way of knowing whether Minnesota is remotely representative), that would translate to around 6,200 people selecting exchange-based QHPs per day during the off season, which is lower than the past two years (7,000 - 9,000/day) but certainly within reason.
That's 300 more people who signed up for QHPs in the first 2 weeks of the off-season, plus another 6,500 added to MinnesotaCare and over 17,000 added to Medicaid (both of which are year round).
The QHP number (just 21 per day) is kind of interesting when compared to Rhode Island, which has has averaged 90 additional people per day in the first 2 weeks of February, yet has a population only 1/5th the size of Minnesota's. When adjusted for total population, Rhode Island's off-season rate is over 21x that of Minnesota.
The big difference, of course, is that Minnesota's BHP program (MinnesotaCare) cannibalizes the QHP market tremendously. When you add those 6,500 to the mix, MNsure has averaged 485 per day...or slightly higher than Rhode Island when adjusted for inflation (around 97/day when divided by 5).
85,390 Minnesotans Enroll in Private Coverage Through MNsure During the 2016 Open Enrollment Period
Enrollment goal exceeded, Minnesota leads the nation in new enrollees
February 01, 2016
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Today, MNsure announced 85,390 Minnesotans enrolled private health insurance coverage through the state exchange during the 2016 open enrollment period, November 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016. MNsure's goal was to enroll 83,000 in private coverage.
In addition, 33,333 Minnesotans newly enrolled in MinnesotaCare and 73,173 newly enrolled in Medical Assistance. MNsure also enrolled 7,144 Minnesotans in a dental-only plan. These numbers are preliminary and are not yet final.
At yesterday's MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee meeting, CEO Allison O'Toole reported that as of January 15, MNsure had enrolled 75,000 Minnesotans into private health insurance coverage since the beginning of open enrollment, November 1, 2015.
As of January 10, MNsure had enrolled 69,671 Minnesotans into private coverage. This means MNsure has seen an increase of 5,329 private plan enrollments in five days. In addition, about 45 percent of private plan enrollees are new to MNsure for 2016. This is the highest percentage of new enrollees nationwide.
MNsure's goal is to enroll 83,000 Minnesotans by the end of open enrollment.
This will be the final enrollment update until preliminary end of open enrollment numbers are released on Monday, February 1.
As a reminder, the 2016 open enrollment period ends on Sunday, January 31. The MNsure Contact Center will be open extended hours on Saturday, January 30, from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., and on Sunday, January 31, from 8 a.m. - midnight.