DENVER — More than 37,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace in November, a rate 23 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.
“The pace of sign-ups during the first month of this Open Enrollment has been very heartening,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “We know that there is a lot of discussion now about the future direction of healthcare, but what remains constant and true is the importance of protecting the health and financial future of all Coloradans. I encourage everyone who needs health insurance to check to see if they qualify for financial assistance, review the available plans, and complete an enrollment before the last-minute rush.”
In the first month of the annual Open Enrollment period, Coloradans selected 37,948 medical and dental insurance plans. That compares to 30,777 such plan selections in November 2015.
However, there's also another important tidbit here (last slide below): While the average unsubsidized premium rates for Colorado exchange enrollees officially went up 16.9%, the final premium cost to the enrollees is actually dropping by 1.9%(from $214/month to $210/month):
In Colorado, the typical consumer who has already used Affordable Care Act subsidies to buy exchange plan coverage for 2017 is on track to spend less on premiums next year.
When I last checked in on Colorado, they were reporting 2017 enrollments at a rate 30% faster than last year (16,305 in 13 days vs. 12,496 in the first 13 days last year).
Today they didn't issue an official update, but did give enough to piece together an estimate via an email to their enrollees:
Dear Connect for Health Colorado Stakeholders,
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re busy as ever enrolling customers. In fact, enrollments are outpacing our numbers by more than 25 percent over this time last year, with our biggest day falling the day after the election. And, this is a trend we’re seeing nationally.
While the recent election has raised a lot of questions about the future of healthcare, what remains constant and true is the importance of protecting the health and financial future of our customers. Broken bones, disease and other chronic conditions aren’t political, but can happen at any time and in some cases, are preventable with access to care and health insurance. Our dedication to helping customers remains as strong as ever.
I noted last week that contrary to my concern that OE4 might get off to a slow start due to people holding off until after the election, the early enrollment numbers appear to be right on pace with my official projections after all. In fact, the single day's worth of data provided for HealthCare.Gov ("over 100,000"* enrollments on 11/09 specifically) is 17% higher than what I was expecting it to be, although obviously that could vary widely day to day. The numbers from Minnesota are also extremely impressive, running over 6x higher than the same period last year, that's mostly due to their unique enrollment cap situation, so that's not much of an indicator of any other state.
While it would be nice to have the averages weighted by carrier, the on/off breakout is kind of interesting because it also lets me know what the relative numbers are between the two. For the individual market, note that the on exchange weighted average is 20.9% vs. the off-exchange's 19.9%.
While I was generally supportive of the idea overall, I also concluded that:
For me, however, ColoradoCare addresses many of the criticisms I've had of Bernie's plan. I'm not necessarily "endorsing" it (I still have a lot more to learn about the details and the criticisms before I can do so), but the bottom line is that it's more realistic and far better thought out than Bernie's national plan is. This is the best opportunity for achieving single payer that you're likely to see anytime soon.
Anyway, according to their latest report, when you add up the "effectuated enrollments WITH and WITHOUT APTC/CSR" (medical only), it totals 143,430 people as of June 9th, 2016...a slight drop from the 146,000 figure as of the end of April. As I noted last month, however:
In addition, Anthem has decided not to offer its PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) individual plans in 2017. In all, the Colorado Division of Insurance said Monday around 92,000 people with individual plans from Anthem, UnitedHealth, Humana, and Rocky Mountain Health Plans will have to find other coverage during open enrollment in the fall.
Many single payer advocates have been either confused or angry with me (to put it mildly) for not being a fan of Bernie Sanders's proposed national SP plan.
I've explained repeatedly that while I am a SP proponent, I just don't see it happening at the national level all at once. There are too many barricades and too many logistical, economic and political problems in doing so to make it remotely feasible to bring SP to the country in this fashion. In addition, I have major problems with the utter lack of detail in Bernie's plan.
HOWEVER, I've also repeatedly stated that I do strongly support getting the ball rolling at a smaller level first--either by partially expanding existing SP programs such as (Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP); consolidating existing private systems into larger risk pools (ie, merging the risk pools of the individual & small group markets, as a few states have done already); and/or by getting SP enacted at the state level, then using that as a model for other states and/or as a national model if it works out.
For 2017, UnitedHealthcare, along with most of its subsidiaries, is discontinuing its participation in the individual market in Colorado, both on and off the exchange. However, Golden Rule Insurance, a subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare, will continue to offer its individual plans in Colorado off of the exchange. UnitedHealthcare will also continue its small and large group business in the state.
Humana will continue in the small group market for 2017 off the exchange, while exiting the individual market for both Humana Health Plans and Humana Insurance Company.
Last month I noted that, assuming I was reading Connect for Health Colorado's monthly dashboard report correctly, they were down to 115,890 effectuated exchange enrollees as of 3/31/16, or a whopping 23.1% lower than the official APTC report tally of 150,769 QHP selections as of the end of Open Enrollment.
...The 121,962 number at the top seems to be the one I want...except that it also includes SHOP and standalone Dental enrollments (I think).
...OK, so 121,962 includes SHOP, which has a maximum tally of 2,897, which means that the effectuated number as of 4/30/16 could be as low as 119,065...except that "Individual" could also potentially include standalone dental plans, confusing the issue further. Even worse, it says that this "Includes those who effectuated in the current plan year and later terminated a policy".
I can't tell whether that means that those who terminated their policies have been subtracted from the total (accounted for) or if they're included in the total (cumulative).