Analysis Finds ‘November Surge’ in Enrollment in State Exchanges
Enrollment through the 14 state-operated health insurance exchanges in November, so far, is nearly double what it was during the first month of open enrollment, according to a recent analysis by the Commonwealth Fund, the Washington Post reports.
The analysis of state and federal data found that about 150,000 individuals enrolled in plans through state exchanges through Nov. 21, after about 79,000 people had enrolled from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2 (Sun/Kliff, Washington Post, 11/22). The analysis' authors noted that the "latest figure does not account for any new enrollment in the federal marketplaces in 36 states, which is also likely to have increased since early November" (Kliff, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 11/22).
The analysis' enrollment figures, when combined with available enrollment data for the federal health insurance exchange, brings the estimated total number of enrollees for the month of November, so far, to at least 176,000, according to the Post.
Details of Enrollment Trends in Some States
Officials with Covered California -- the state's marketplace -- have reported that roughly 2,000 residents have been enrolling in plans this month and, so far, about 80,000 residents have signed up for coverage. According to the Post, California's enrollments now account for almost 50% of all ACA enrollments (Washington Post, 11/22).
Meanwhile, New York and Washington had reported enrollment numbers in the tens of thousands by the end of last week ("Wonkblog," Washington Post, 11/22). The number of consumers enrolled in private plans in Washington increased from 7,341 at the end of last month to 11,742 through Nov. 14.
Michael Marchand, spokesperson for the state's exchange, said, "We're definitely seeing interest continuing to build," adding, "I fully suspect we may have half our enrollment coming in December."
In Connecticut, health officials said about 14% of expected enrollees had signed up for coverage by Nov. 14. About 8,000 residents have enrolled in private plans, the officials said (Washington Post, 11/22). Another 6,000 have enrolled in Medicaid according to the Washington Post's "Wonkblog" ("Wonkblog," Washington Post, 11/22).
Observers: 'November Surge' a Positive Sign
While the state-run exchanges have been faring well, HealthCare.gov -- the federally run marketplace serving the remaining three dozen states -- has continued to face technical issues.
Sarah Collins -- a co-author of the Commonwealth Fund analysis and vice president of the organization -- said the state-operated marketplaces "were just better equipped and ready to handle high capacity," because they had undergone testing in the summer and resolved most of their technical problems (Washington Post, 11/22).
Other policy experts said the uptick in state-exchange enrollment -- which the Commonwealth Fund described as a "November surge" -- is an encouraging sign.
Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman said, "What this says is that the problems are system problems, not problems with demand or interest." He added, "Reason would suggest that other states can do as well over time, if we're able to do this in Kentucky or Washington" ("Wonkblog," Washington Post, 11/22).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.