Mixed Results for State-Run Health Insurance Exchanges’ Enrollment
The 15 state-operated health insurance exchanges have not experienced as many of the problems plaguing the federal exchange website, but states still are showing mixed results in the number of individuals signing up for health coverage, Politico reports.
Washington has the highest enrollment among the state-run exchanges, enrolling about 49,000 individuals in both public and private health plans. According to Politico, the state has set a goal of signing up 130,000 consumers by Jan. 1, 2014.
The state's exchange has not been immune from problems, however. Washington Health Benefit Exchange spokesperson Michael Marchand said the site has experienced error codes and interoperability difficulties. However, he said that fixes are ongoing both overnight and on the weekends and likely will continue through the rest of the month.
Meanwhile, New York's exchange has enrolled more than 37,000 individuals, and Kentucky's has signed up about 31,500.
However, not all states have had success reaching consumers. For instance, just 3,164 consumers have enrolled in plans on the Colorado exchange, well behind pace to reach the state's goal of enrolling 136,000 individuals in 2014. This week, the state added a new feature which allows consumers to determine their eligibility for federal subsidies online, rather than through a call center.
Other states have faced difficulties with their exchanges. Hawaii's exchange did not launch until two weeks after open enrollment began. In Oregon, Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) has encouraged residents to enroll via paper applications, expressing doubt that the online exchange will be fixed anytime soon.
In total, about 160,791 individuals have used the state-based exchanges to enroll in both public and private health plans, according to estimates by The Advisory Board Company (Winfield Cunningham, Politico, 11/5). California Healthline is published by The Advisory Board Company.
Kentucky Sees Good Start
President Obama over the past several weeks has touted Kentucky's health insurance exchange, Kynect, as a model for other states and the federal government to follow, the New York Times reports. According to the Times, Kentucky is enrolling 1,000 individuals in Kynect per day.
Unlike most exchanges, Kynect has not faced many technical issues. The Times reports that is mostly because the exchange's primary contractor -- Deloitte -- has worked closely with the agency that oversees the health programs to ensure guidance and oversight. Deloitte also tested the system numerous times before the website went live so that problems could be addressed before consumers were affected (Goodnough, New York Times, 11/4).
Observers Say It Is Too Soon To Judge
Although enrollment data have been slowly trickling in, observers say it is too soon to tell which states will experience the most success as the law's rollout continues, according to Politico. Rachel Dolan -- a policy specialist for the National Academy for State Health Policy -- said, "If we were in the middle of a football game, we would not even be done with the first quarter, so I think trying to score states against each other is preliminary at this point" (Politico, 11/5).
Analysis: Five States Heavy on Subsidies
In related news, about 40% of the 17 million consumers who will qualify for federal subsidies in the exchanges reside in just five states, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report released Tuesday, CQ HealthBeat reports.
The report found that Texas is expected to have more than two million residents eligible for tax credits, or about two-thirds of residents in the state who will shop for coverage through the exchange. In addition, California and Florida each will have more than one million residents qualify for subsidies. In New York, about 779,000 residents will qualify for tax credits and about 715,000 residents will be eligible for subsidies in Pennsylvania (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 11/5).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.