Connecticut

This isn't a huge update, especially given yesterday's ASPE report which pegged Connecticut's QHP tally at 102,066 as of December 26th, but every update helps:

JANUARY 8, 2016

As of this week, Access Health CT announced it has more than 104,000 individuals enrolled in qualified health plans. That number could change during the final weeks of open enrollment and as existing customers renew coverage.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who chairs the Access Health CT board, said the group is urging residents to check their healthcare coverage to make sure everything is correct for 2016. People without health insurance could face federal tax penalties.

...Access Health CT reported in late December over 34,000 new Connecticut customers had enrolled in health coverage since Nov. 1, on par with last year at this time. The new enrollment number represents 11,000 qualified health plan members and 23,000 Medicaid members.

Yesterday I noted that while Connecticut hasn't posted any enrollment updates since 11/17, a recent news article was very promising.

Today, Access Health CT did indeed post an official update, and while the numbers are quite good, they also have to be pulled apart a bit:

LT. GOV. WYMAN, ACCESS HEALTH CEO JIM WADLEIGH ANNOUNCE MIDENROLLMENT NUMBERS FOR AHCT

Over 34,000 New Customers Sign Up Through AHCT Hartford, Conn.

(December 22, 2015) – Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Chair of the Board of Access Health CT (AHCT) and Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh today announced that over 34,000 new Connecticut customers have enrolled in quality, affordable coverage since November 1, 2015.

The Connecticut ACA exchange, AccessHealthCT, hasn't given out any official OE3 enrollment updates since November 17th. At the time, their official number appeared to be absurdly high because, like Rhode Island and Massachusetts, CT decided to "front-load" their auto-renewals up front. This is purely a record-keeping/reporting thing, because any of those who have been auto-renewed could still cancel their renewals at any time before January, so it doesn't really impact what the final number ends up being.

Anyway, as of 11/17, Connecticut's official tally was 93,657 current enrollees renewing (either actively or automatically), plus another 5,470 new additions, for a total of 99,127.

Of course, not only does this number not include a solid month's worth of data, the final week of that missing period was last week's mid-December deadline surge. Unlike HC.gov and several other states, CT did not extend their 12/15 deadline for January coverage, although of course residents still have until 1/15 to sign up for February coverage, and until 1/31 to get covered starting in March.

The monthly Access Health CT board meeting is taking place right now; they've posted a few key data tweets. I'll update if anything else relevant is tweeted out:

James Michel, Director of Operations, has shared that 13,300 new accounts have been created & 5,470 individuals have enrolled in QHP plans.

— Access Health CT (@AccessHealthCT) November 19, 2015

Total QHP enrollments as of 11/17: 99,127. #AHCTBoDMeeting

— Access Health CT (@AccessHealthCT) November 19, 2015

With 12 out of 23 ACA-created Co-Ops now having bitten the dust (or at least about to do so as of the end of the year...or sooner, in the case of Health Republic of New York), the Co-Op story has been pretty grim.

However, there has been some good news to report among some of the 11 Co-Ops which remain:

That leaves HealthyCT of Connecticut, which is, again, apparently chugging along just fine this year amidst the carnage:

When I updated my #OE3 state-level enrollment projections yesterday, I came across this official projection for #OE3 from Your Health Idaho's Sept. 18th board meeting minutes:

Rep. Rusche asked what our target enrollment is for this cycle and what barriers we see in making those targets. Mr. Kelly said the team is focused on the 80% goal of 92,000 as our enrollment target.Premium increases are a potential barrier. Net premium is a relatively small increase for most consumers, and each consumer will experience something different depending Page 5 of 14 on their plan, their location, their carrier, etc. We feel that while the premiums are increasing the relatively small net premium increase will mitigate this barrier to a large degree.

When I asked for clarification, they informed me that:

We currently have 86,659 effectuated enrollments with Your Health Idaho, as of September 15. The 92,000 would also refer to effectuated enrollments.

Last week I noted that AccessHealthCT, the Connecticut ACA exchange, reported that as of October 1st, they had exactly 95,601 people enrolled in effectuated exchange policies.

This article in the Hartford Courant gives additional, up-to-date data on CT's insurance coverage rate:

Connecticut has its lowest percentage of people without health care coverage ever, according to Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Access Health CT.

Access Health, the state's Obamacare exchange, said 3.8 percent of Connecticut residents, or 137,000 people, are without any form of health insurance.

The U.S. Census reported in September that the number of uninsured Connecticut residents fell sharply in 2014, by 85,000 to 245,000, or 6.9 percent. That was down from 9.4 percent in 2013.

The Census number is the lowest figure it has reported in at least 20 years, and Access Health said its number — determined through an analysis of 2015 coverage by Acturus of Farmington — is an all-time low.

A quick update from Connecticut: Last month it looked like effectuated QHP enrollment at AccessHealthCT had increased a bit between June and September, from around 92.2K to 96.6K.

However, just moments ago at the AccessHealthCT board meeting, this graph was displayed, showing that effectuated enrollment has actually been dropping off gradually since March, which is actually exactly what you'd normally expect via normal attrition anyway.

In any event, according to this slide, CT currently has 95,601 effectuated QHP enrollees: 71,022 receiving tax credits (74%), 24,579 without (26%), which is down slightly from September. This is right in line with my (revised) national attrition estimates, which should taper off at around 9.7 million effectuated enrollees by the end of the year.

I'm cheating a bit here; CT Mirror reporter extraordinaire Arielle Levin Becker has posted the key points from the AccessHealthCT monthly board meeting via Twitter:

Census estimates: CT uninsured rate down to 6.9% in 2014 http://t.co/YUcVaXdVV4

— Arielle Levin Becker (@ariellelb) September 16, 2015

Current exchange enrollment in private insurance plans: 96,621; down from 110k at end of open enrollment period

— Arielle Levin Becker (@ariellelb) September 17, 2015

Now, this is very interesting to me. Yes, the 2/22/15 QHP selection totally was around 110K, but compare 96,621 as of (I assume) mid-September against the HHS Dept's Q1 and Q2 reports:

Back in July, after several revised rate hike requests, the overall weighted average rate hikes requested for the individual market in Connecticut had dropped twice: From 7.7% overall to 7.2%, and then again to just 5.2%, as individual insurance carriers reevaluated their numbers and estimates.

Today, Arielle Levin Becker reports that the final approved rate changes have been released, and the overall, weighted average hike has dropped even further:

Premiums for the 55,000 people who buy Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans through the state's individual market will rise by an average of 2.4 percent next year, while ConnectiCare Insurance Company's 34,400 customers will see an average rate hike of 8.5 percent.

At the end of May, I noted some very promising news out of the Nutmeg State: Out of the 111,268 people (109,839 during Open Enrollment + another 1,429 during the #ACATaxTime SEP) who had selected a private policy via AccessHealthCT as of last spring, around 93% were still enrolled in effectuated coverage, which is fantastic considering that last year, 12% of those who selected QHPs didn't pay in the first place, aside from any additional net attrition which happened after the first month.

Well, it's mid-July now, and the AccessHealthCT board just had their monthly meeting at which they gave a bunch of solid updates. Thanks to Arielle Levin Becker for most of the Tweetstorm:

There are a total of 608,231 processed applications. 96,966 CT residents are insured in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP). #AHCTBoDMeeting

— Access Health CT (@AccessHealthCT) July 22, 2015

Just 3 days ago, I wrote about the changing 2016 rate increase request situation in Connecticut, where Arielle Levin Becker reported that 2 of the state insurance providers were lowering their requested rates ahead of the public regulatory hearings...even though the CT exchange, Access Health CT, is increasing their rates a bit to cover expenses. As a result, the overall weighted average increases being requested dropped a half a point, from 7.7% down to 7.2%, which is pretty darned good, all things considered.

Well, it looks like I should have waited a couple of days, because this morning Ms. Becker, of the CT Mirror, has posted another update...and the news is even better:

The four companies selling individual health plans through Connecticut’s health insurance exchange have revised their proposals to raise rates in 2016, seeking lower increases than initially proposed.

Nearly 2 months ago, I posted about Connecticut's insurance policy rate change requests from the 9 companies which plan on offering individual healthcare policies either on or off the ACA exchange, Access Health CT. The takeaway at the time was that, when weighted for the relative market share of each company, it looked like a statewide average requested rate increase of 7.7%, which isn't bad at all given the massive hikes being tossed around in some other states:

None of these have actually been approved yet, mind you...and in fact, just today it was announced that the CT Insurance Dept. will be holding public hearings to discuss the rate requests by three of the companies above: Anthem, ConnectiCare and Golden Rule.

Even before that happens, however, there's been some shifting: The first two companies, Anthem and ConnectiCare, have put in revisions to their earlier requests:

In 2014, the overall average premium payment rate for those who selected a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) from the various ACA exchanges ended up being around 88% nationally. This varied from state to state and company to company, but in the end it was roughly 88%.

In 2014, the overall average net monthly attrition rate ended up being roughly 3% per month (by net, I mean after taking into account both new people enrolling during the off-season and existing enrollees dropping their coverage). Based on this, here's what the 2014 exchange enrollment looked like (click image for full-size version):

Last year, Connecticut was a perfect example of how the initial requested insurance policy rate changes from the companies involved in a given state can end up changing dramatically after the approval process (and in CT's case, change even more when the actual Open Enrollment period actually arrives). The original requested average increas in CT was 12.8%, but the approved changes ended up only being around 4.5%...and in the end they were far lower: Less than a 1% overall weighted average increase!

With that in mind, here's the story on 2016 requested changes in CT:

Four major health care providers that offer plans on Connecticut's health insurance marketplace have filed for rate increases for the upcoming open enrollment period that begins Nov. 1, 2015.

...The following increases have been proposed: 2 percent for ConnectiCare, 6.7 percent for Anthem, 12.4 percent for United Healthcare and 13.96 percent for Healthy CT.

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