Since the start of open enrollment on Nov. 1, more than 160,000 individuals and families have already signed up for Qualified Health Plans (QHP) through Washington Healthplanfinder. The updated total reflects an increase of more than 20,000 QHP selections over the same point in the open enrollment period last year. In addition to 2017 QHP selections, more than 22,000 Washingtonians have signed up for Qualified Dental Plans (QDP) that are now offered through Washington Healthplanfinder.
Total effectuated QHP enrollment as of September 2016: 166,098 people...or about 5% higher than they had in March, according to the official CMS report. This is unusual; almost every other state has seen a substantial drop-off in effectuated enrollment. The only other state which constantly increases effectuations during the off-season is Massachusetts, and that's mainly because they have special "ConnectorCare" policies which are available year-round to anyone. On the other hand, according to the WA exchange report, there has been a slight net drop since March...of around 4.5% (see 2nd slide below). Not sure what to make of that. Either way, however, the point is that attrition is unusually low compared to other states.
As noted before, I'm really trying to move onto the actual enrollment part of the 2017 open enrollment period, but I can't resist doing some more final cleanup of my Rate Hike project:
SOUTH CAROLINA: This is one of the 5 states which I still didn't have approved rate changes for. Today the RateReview.HC.gov site finally added in the final numbers for SC, so here's what it looks like:
Aetna was a bit tricky--the total enrollee number is actually 41,988. They dropped out of the ACA exchange but are sticking around the off-exchange market, so I had to figure out how many of those 42K are on vs. off-exchange. The answer is in this article which notes:
More than 220,000 South Carolinians rely on the federal health care law for insurance. This year, only 8,000 of them are covered by Aetna plans.
A week or so ago, the Washington Insurance Commissioner announced that the weighted average rate hike for 46 plans certified by the state insurance dept. regulators is 13.1%. However, there was a major caveat: There were another 52 plans which still had to be certified by the board. Without knowing the average rate hike for the other half of the plans, there's no way of knowing what the final approved average increase will be.
In addition, I also don't know what the relative market share of any of the plans (certified vs. uncertified) is, so there's no way of weighting the average across the full market. For all I know, 90% of enrollees might be among the first 46 (in which case any variances mong the other 52 plans would barely move the needle). Alternately, 90% could be among the missing 52 plans, or anywhere in between.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has approved 46 individual health plans from seven insurers who will offer them in the Exchange, Wahealthplanfinder (www.wahealthplanfinder.org), for sale in 2017. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board is scheduled to certify the approved insurers and their plans at its board meeting later today.
Regence Blueshield also filed 21 plans for sale in the Exchange and Bridgespan filed 31 plans. Both companies’ filings and rates are still under review. They must be approved by the OIC before they can be considered for certification by the Exchange.
Now that the official ASPE Q1 2016 Effectuated Enrollment report is out, I can compare various state exchange reports against that to see how they're doing. In Washington State, 158,245 people were reported as being enrolled in active, effectuated exchange policies as of 3/31/16.
The WA HealthplanFinder has issued their July dashboard report, and their off-season retention numbers look pretty good: 168,958 people had paid their monthly premiums as of June...a 6.8% increase over the March figure. Even if this is off slightly due to methodology differences, it's still a good thing to see exchange enrollment up from earlier in the year, since overall enrollment is down at least 12.6% since the end of open enrollment due to non-payments, legal issues and so on.
The first number has been pretty confusing to me over the past few months, because the actual number of people who selected QHPs during the 2016 open enrollment period was reported as just over 200,000 by both the exchange itself as well as in the official national ASPE report, so I wasn't quite sure whether to report the net effectuated enrollment drop since then as being almost none at all or around 15%. I finally went with the 15% figure because dividing into the 177K number just didn't make sense by any other measure.
Last month I noted that the Washington Healthplanfinder was reportingcurrently effectuated QHP enrollment at 170,527 as of the end of March, a 15.0% drop from the official number of QHP selections during the 2016 Open Enrollment Period. I also noted that due to some confusion about how the numbers are reported by the exchange, it could also be argued that WA has seen just a 6.6% net drop, depending on how you look at it.
However, since 200,691 is the official number included in the ASPE report, I'm finally letting that one go...and actually, that's OK, because a 15% drop by 3/31 is fairly close to what I would expect anyway (a bit higher than the 13% national drop from last year, but not out of line).
Anyway, the WA exchange just released their May report (with data through the end of April), and it's actually pretty good--there's only been a very slight net drop since March, for an overall drop of just 15.2% from the 200K figure:
13 health insurers file 154 plans for 2017 - 13.5 average requested rate change • May 16, 2016
OLYMPIA, Wash.– Thirteen health insurers have filed 154 individual health plans for 2017 both inside and outside of the Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder. The average requested rate change based on enrollment is 13.5 percent.
According to the ASPE report, as of 1/31/16, 200,691 people had selected QHPs via the WA exchange. This is completely consistent with the exchange's own final report of "more than 200,000".
However, according to their March monthly enrollment dashboard report, the Washington HealthplanFinder only had 176,914 people having "Selected a Plan" as of February...and of those, only 156,493 were reported by the carriers as having paid.
That payment rate is a quite reasonable 88.5%, which is slightly lower than my general 90% rule of thumb estiamate nationally but not out of line at all. However, what's the deal with that 177K topline figure? Where did the remaining 23,777 people go?
Based on that discrepancy, the MA Health Connector has increased their enrollment by either a nominal 0.6% or an impressive 9.5%, depending on what you use as the starting number.
Well, this morning I've found a similar report for the Washington exchange, and this one makes even less sense to me because it not only contradicts the ASPE report, it seems to contradict the WA exchange itself.
The Washington State ACA exchange has been very good about providing enrollment updates over the final couple of weeks of open enrollment, although the numbers have been included as part of general press releases rather than detailed demographic breakdowns.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 200,000 Washingtonians selected a Qualified Health Plan through Washington Healthplanfinder by the close of open enrollment on Jan. 31. The number of plans selected is nearly 25 percent higher than those selected in open enrollment last year, with approximately 39,000 more customers signed up for coverage this year than in 2015.