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November/December 2014 St@teside

Open Enrollment Update: A Round-up of States' Enrollment Activities and Stats

On November 15, the second annual open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplaces began. Some marketplaces have undergone substantial changes since the end of the last open enrollment period – Maryland Health Connection has successfully adapted Access Health CT’s exchange software, Nevada and Oregon have transitioned to the federal marketplace, and Your Health Idaho is the first state to transition off of the federal system. Furthermore, the health reform environment continues to evolve with new guidance releases from the federal government, such as the proposed 2016 Benefits and Payment Parameters rule, and King vs. Burwell looms large as we wait for the case to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Yet, the marketplaces continue to forge ahead with helping the remaining uninsured get coverage, while reenrolling those who already purchased coverage through the marketplace. The marketplaces are building on lessons learned from the past year, and they have developed and are implementing some new and innovative outreach and enrollment strategies. Below are a few highlights from the 2015 open enrollment period so far.

  • Both Covered California and HealthSource RI added additional storefronts, or walk-in centers, for this year’s open enrollment period after finding that in-person assistance centers were highly utilized and proved to be an effective means for assisting consumers in enrolling in qualified health plans (QHPs) during the first open enrollment.
  • To enhance the user experience, Connect for Health Colorado  and Access Health CT now feature avatars on their websites. Kyla in Colorado and Tina in Connecticut serve as interactive guides, walking consumers through the enrollment process and answering questions along the way.
  • Many marketplaces did not focus on the tax penalty during the 2014 open enrollment. However, with the tax penalty increasing in 2015 to 2 percent of a household’s income or $325 per person, whichever is greater, more marketplaces are beginning to message this. Choose Health Delaware, for example, has incorporated a tax penalty calculator on its website to help consumers understand how much it will cost them to remain uninsured in 2015.
  • As the pool of remaining uninsured decreases and marketplaces’ marketing budgets decrease as well, understanding where the uninsured individuals are within a state and targeting the marketplaces’ outreach and marketing strategies are more crucial. To this end, Maryland Health Connection, with assistance from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), has developed maps of the uninsured and likely eligible for new ACA coverage options by county.
Additionally, some state-based marketplaces have started to release periodic enrollment updates. Below is a compilation of the most recent enrollment figures from those states. (Note: some of the QHP enrollment figures capture only new enrollees, while others aggregate the newly enrolled and reenrolled.)
  • California: There have been 48,950 new QHP enrollees, as of December 3
  • Colorado: 9,782 have enrolled in QHPs and 12,533 in Medicaid, as of November 30.
  • Connecticut: There have been 2,659 new QHP enrollees and 8,945 new Medicaid enrollees, as of November 21.
  • Kentucky: 15,140 individuals have enrolled in QHPs, and 10,017 individuals have enrolled in Medicaid, as of December 8.
  • Maryland: 29,543 individuals enrolled in QHPs, and and 22,253 individuals enrolled in Medicaid, as of December 4.
  • Massachusetts: While Massachusetts Health Connector has not yet released data on how many individuals have enrolled in plans, it is releasing daily dashboards on consumer eligibility determinations. As of December 9, 147,564 individuals have received eligibility determinations.
  • Minnesota: 7,829 have enrolled in QHPs, and 13,080 have enrolled in Medicaid and MinnesotaCare, as of December 5.
  • Washington: More than 2,000 individuals have enrolled in QHPs, and 14,000 have newly enrolled in or renewed their coverage for Medicaid, as of November 18.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also recently announced that, as of December 5, over 1.3 million individuals have selected QHPs through, 48 percent of whom are new enrollees.