Studies Examine ACA Enrollment Goals, Premium Rates
Forty-four percent of states met or surpassed their own insurance exchange enrollment goals during the initial open enrollment period, according to a new study by Avalere Health, the Washington Times reports.
For the report, researchers assumed that about 15% of new enrollees would not complete the last enrollment step of making their first month's premium payment to activate their coverage. In addition, researchers analyzed how well states did in comparison with their own enrollment goals, not overall enrollment numbers. For example, New York had the fourth largest number of enrollments overall, but only signed up 49% of its target enrollees.
Overall, the study found that 22 states did better on enrollment than they initially projected, with Florida, California and Idaho leading the states by far exceeding their original estimates. By comparison, the District of Columbia and Hawaii ranked at the bottom of the list because they each enrolled fewer than half of their initial projections.
Elizabeth Carpenter, a director at Avalere, said the study highlighted the regional variations in enrollment and noted that "it could impact carrier decisions to participate in some markets in 2015" (Howell, Washington Times, 4/2).
Report: Enrollment Reached 115% of Admin's Projection
Meanwhile, a recent study from the Urban Institute concluded that total enrollment in the exchanges by April 19 reached 115% of the Obama administration's projection, up from 61% as of March 1, The Hill reports. In addition, the report found that as of April 19, the exchanges had enrolled 46% of their 2016 projections and 25% of their overall target population.
However, researchers noted that all of the figures are subject to change, as they do not take into account enrollees who fail to make their initial premium payment or others who have not yet enrolled during the exchanges' special enrollment periods (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 5/2).
High Deductibles Undercut Low Exchange Plan Premiums, Study Finds
Some exchange enrollees who selected silver-level plans could spend thousands of dollars more for prescription drugs and other health costs because such plans -- unlike most employer-sponsored plans -- have high deductibles and typically do not cover prescriptions or primary care visits, according to a recent study by Breakaway Policy Strategies and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CQ HealthBeat reports.
For the study, researchers looked at the payments consumers are expected to pay -- including premiums, deductibles, co-insurance and co-payments -- if they are enrolled in any of the 7,027 silver plans sold in the exchanges. Silver plans, which are the most popular plans, cover about 70% of the cost of covered benefits, while beneficiaries pay the rest. About 65% of the eight million people who have coverage through the exchanges picked silver plans.
The study also found that premiums for such plans varied widely, but averaged at about $265 per month for a 27-year-old, $435 for a 50-year-old and $878 for a family of four.
Researchers noted that their estimates did not take into account the subsidies that many consumers might obtain to help offset the cost of premiums and deductibles (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 5/2).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.