ACA Insurance Exchange Enrollment Expected To Continue To Grow
Enrollment in health plans through the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges likely will surpass the eight million enrollees that President Obama announced last week because some states' exchanges still are open for enrollment, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
According to recent news reports and an Avalere Health analysis, at least eight states and the District of Columbia still have exchanges with open enrollment.
For example, the District of Columbia and Oregon have both extended their open enrollment deadlines to April 30, while Nevada has extended its open enrollment deadline until May 30. Meanwhile, other states, such as Connecticut and Rhode Island, are determining special enrollment periods on a case-by-case basis and have not given specific enrollment deadlines.
Further, U.S. residents can continue to enroll in exchange plans outside of the open enrollment period in cases of certain life-changing events, such as moving to another state, getting married or losing employment.
Insurers, Critics React
Insurers have expressed concern over the extended enrollment periods because they could allow more sick individuals to enroll in health coverage. Further, ACA critics have called the indefinite deadlines an underhanded attempt to boost enrollment numbers during the law's first open enrollment period.
While ACA enrollment will likely increase, some experts believe that total enrollment under the law will not rise significantly above eight million because of ongoing fluctuations in the insurance market caused by people's life changes and whether individuals pay their premiums (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/19).
States Running Out of Time To Make Exchange Call
In related news, the roughly three dozen states that chose not to run their own health insurance exchanges during the ACA's first open enrollment period have just a few months left to decide whether they will run their own exchanges in the 2015 open enrollment period, the AP/Miami Herald reports.
The states have until Nov. 14 to apply for federal grants to help fund the creation of and other costs related to running their own exchanges. Federal funding for the projects cannot be awarded after Jan. 1, 2015.
In order to apply for the funding, state legislatures must first pass legislation or governors must issue executive orders authorizing the state-run exchanges.
However, many state legislatures will soon adjourn their legislative sessions until November, giving them only a few months to act on the matter.
According to the AP/Herald, many of the states that did not run their own exchanges are controlled by Republicans who are resistant to the ACA. Still, the Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute's Sonya Schwartz created a ranking list of seven states that are most likely to create their own exchanges for 2015:
- West Virginia;
- New Hampshire; and
However, many state legislators are reluctant to make a move on the issue, especially in states with heavily-contested Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm elections. According to former Illinois GOP Chair Pat Brady, working on ACA-related legislation remains unpopular with both Republicans and Democrats at the state level (Johnson, AP/Miami Herald, 4/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.