HHS: 11.6M Enrolled in Coverage Through Federal, State Exchanges
On Wednesday, HHS announced that 11.6 million individuals enrolled in coverage through the state and federal health insurance exchanges during the Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment period, Modern Healthcare reports (Dickson, Modern Healthcare, 2/25).
According to CQ HealthBeat, some of the enrollees have not yet paid their first month's premium, activating their coverage (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 2/25).
HHS said that about 8.84 million U.S. residents selected or were automatically re-enrolled in health plans through the federal exchange as of Feb. 22.
According to HHS officials, about 41,000 of those individuals enrolled during a special enrollment period for people who began applying for coverage the weekend leading up to the open enrollment deadline on Feb. 15 but could not finish the applications by the deadline (Humer, Reuters, 2/25).
Meanwhile, about 2.8 million residents enrolled in coverage through the state-run exchanges during the second open enrollment period.
More Sign-Ups Possible
According to Modern Healthcare, some U.S. residents will have an additional opportunity to enroll in ACA coverage this year during another special open enrollment period that will begin on March 15 and end April 30 (Modern Healthcare, 2/25). The Obama administration announced last week that the special open enrollment period will apply to individuals who can confirm they:
- Did not know about the individual mandate penalties until they filed their taxes;
- Have paid the federal government any penalties assessed for not having coverage in 2014; and
- Do not currently have health plans purchased through HealthCare.gov.
The special open enrollment period will only apply to residents in states that use the federal exchange for enrollment. However, states that have established their own exchanges can choose to offer a similar enrollment period (California Healthline, 2/20). According to Modern Healthcare, CMS has not estimated how many individuals could qualify for the special enrollment period.
Meanwhile, various states have announced they also will hold a special open enrollment period for residents who did not meet the Feb. 15 deadline, including:
- Vermont; and
- Washington (Modern Healthcare, 2/25).
1.2M HealthCare.gov Enrollees Switched Health Plans
The administration also said Wednesday that about 1.2 million U.S. residents who purchased coverage through HealthCare.gov for 2015 selected a different health plan than they did for 2014, the Wall Street Journal reports.
CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said federal officials were surprised at consumers' willingness to switch plans. "This is a much more active consumer than anybody expected," he said, adding that individuals enrolled in other health insurance programs tend to switch plans at much lower rates. Slavitt noted that about 580,000 of those who changed their plans did so after the initial Dec. 15, 2014, deadline to make coverage changes effective Jan. 1. He said such individuals were likely motivated by premium increases.
Meanwhile, about two million enrollees were automatically signed up for the same plans they had in 2014 after taking no action to re-enroll. A little more than one million visited HealthCare.gov but did not change their plans.
Overall, 4.17 million of those who selected federal exchange plans during the second open enrollment period had also done so during the first open enrollment period, according to CMS data. Meanwhile, about 4.7 million enrollees signed up for federal exchange coverage for the first time. The administration did not estimate how many of such individuals previously were uninsured (Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal, 2/25).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.