Wyoming

Wyoming

Wyoming is the smallest state and only has two carriers offering individual market policies (and just three offering small group plans). This makes it pretty simple for me.

Unfortunately, neither their insurance department website nor their SERFF filings give any indication of the enrollment numbers for any of the carriers. Fortunately, the federal rate review website does list enrollment for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming...which also has something like 95% of the individual market share in the state. By estimating the enrollment for the 2nd carrier (Montana Health Co-Op), I should be pretty close to the weighted average...a pretty ugly 18.5% average rate hike. Ouch.

It's no better on the small group side, although I don't have the actual enrollment for the other two carriers; the unweighted average is "only" an 11.9% increase, but it's over 20% for BCBSWY enrollees.

Rate Changes

As I noted last night, thanks to the federal Rate Review website finally being updated to include the final, approved 2022 rates for both the individual and small group markets in all 50 states (+DC), I've been able to fill in the missing data for my annual ACA Rate Change Project.

As I note there, the overall weighted average looks like it'll be roughly +3.5% nationally.

Normally I write up a separate entry for both the preliminary and approved rate changes in each individual state, but it seems like overkill to create 14 separate entries at once. Besides, in many of these states there's been few if any changes between the preliminary and approved rate changes.

Wyoming

Wyoming is the smallest state and only has two carriers offering individual market policies (and just three offering small group plans). This makes it pretty simple for me.

Unfortunately, neither their insurance department website nor their SERFF filings give any indication of the enrollment numbers for any of the carriers, making it impossible to calculate a weighted average for either market. Then again, assuming a roughly even market share split, the unweighted averages should be pretty close: -4.1% individual market, +1.0% small group.

Wyoming

I've once again relaunched my project from last fall to track Medicaid enrollment (both standard and expansion alike) on a monthly basis for every state dating back to the ACA being signed into law.

For the various enrollment data, I'm using data from Medicaid.gov's Medicaid Enrollment Data Collected Through MBES reports. Unfortunately, they've only published enrollment data through December 2020. In most states I've been able to get more recent enrollment data from state websites and other sources. Unfortunately, Wyoming isn't among them, though I've estimated January enrollment based on CMS's just-released Monthly Medicaid & Chip report (which use a slightly different methodology than the MBES reports).

Wyoming

 Now that I've developed a standardized format/layout & methodology for tracking both state- and county-level COVID vaccination levels by partisan lean (which can also be easily applied to other variables like education level, median income, population density, ethnicity, etc), I've started moving beyond my home state of Michigan.

Here's Wyoming:

NOTE: The CDC lists ~7,000 Wyoming residents (3.9% of the total fully vaccinated) whose county of residence is unknown.

Wyoming

March 31st, 2021:

Senate committee kills Medicaid expansion bill, by Morgan Hughes

Medicaid expansion will not happen in Wyoming this year.

The state’s Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee killed a bill Wednesday morning to expand the federal insurance program, which would have insured an estimated 25,000 additional Wyomingites.

Lawmakers have defeated similar proposals for nearly a decade. Advocates hoped this year might be different. Many House Republicans voiced a change of heart after the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline of fossil fuels rocked the state’s economy, leaving many without health coverage. This session was the first in which a bill to expand the program passed a legislative chamber.

Gummy Penis

March 2, 2021:

The ACA's language didn't account for the possibility that some states might not expand Medicaid, which is why the lower-end range of exchange plan subsidy eligibility starts off at 100% FPL...

Unfortunately, those earning less than 100% FPL are still stuck without any viable options besides either "going bare" and praying they don't get sick or injured or possibly buying a junk plan of some sort. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there's around 2.2 million Americans still caught in the "Medicaid Gap", where they don't qualify for Medicaid but don't earn enough to be eligible for subsidized ACA exchange policies (Kaiser estimates another 1.8 million uninsured adults in these states in the 100 - 138% "overlap" cateogory, plus around 356,000 who are eligible for Medicaid but still haven't enrolled for one reason or another).

Gold Bars

NOTE: This is an updated version of a post from a couple of months ago. Since then, there's been a MASSIVELY important development: The passage of the American Rescue Plan, which includes a dramatic upgrade in ACA subsidies for not only the millions of people already receiving them, but for millions more who didn't previously qualify for financial assistance.

Much has been written by myself and others (especially the Kaiser Family Foundation) about the fact that millions of uninsured Americans are eligible for ZERO PREMIUM Bronze ACA healthcare policies.

I say "Zero Premium" instead of "Free" because there's still deductibles and co-pays involved, although all ACA plans also include a long list of free preventative services from physicals and blood screenings to mammograms and immunizations with no deductible or co-pay involved.

Gummy Penis

Last week I reported that the GOP-controlled Missouri legislature decided to wipe their asses with their own state constitution by refusing to fund Medicaid expansion in the state despite the voters demanding they do so via a statewide ballot proposal last August:

Republican lawmakers blocked Medicaid expansion funding from reaching the Missouri House floor on Wednesday, posing a setback for the voter-approved plan to increase eligibility for the state health care program.

The House Budget Committee voted along party lines not to pass a bill allowing Missouri to spend $130 million of state funds and $1.6 billion in federal money to pay for the program’s expansion. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government picks up 90% of the tab on expanding Medicaid.

The expanded eligibility would allow estimated 230,000 additional low-income Missourians to be covered. It is set to go into effect in July after voters approved a ballot question last August with a 53% majority.

Alabama & Wyoming Icons

The American Rescue Plan does plenty to make private ACA-compliant health insurance dramatically more affordable for everyone earning more than 100% of the Federal Poverty Level. For those below 100% FPL, however, it takes an indirect approach. As I wrote a few weeks ago:

One possible "solution" would have been to simply remove the lower-bound income cut-off point for ACA exchange subsidy eligibility (that is, to lower the threshold from 100% FPL to 0%)...However, this would create two new problems: First, Medicaid is far more comprehensive than nearly all ACA plans...Secondly, if the lower-end subsidy cut-off were removed, it's almost certain that quite a few states which have already expanded the program would reverse themselves and allow Medicaid expansion to expire, in order to save the 10% portion of the cost that they have to pay.

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