Study: Covered Calif. Had One of Lowest Enrollment Growth Rates
Overall enrollment in Covered California grew by just 1% this year -- one of the lowest growth rates in the U.S., according to a study released Tuesday by Avalere Health, the San Francisco Business Times' "Bay Area BizTalk" reports (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 4/7).
Details of Study
For the study, researchers used data from the March HHS Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation Issue Brief on "Health Insurance Marketplaces 2015 Open Enrollment Period: March Enrollment Report" (Pearson, Avalere Health study, 4/7).
The study found that the Affordable Care Act's federally run exchanges re-enrolled a higher percentage of 2014 customers and added new customers at a higher rate in 2015 than state-run exchanges.
In addition, researchers found an average re-enrollment rate of 78% among 34 federally run exchanges, compared with an average of 69% among 11 state-run exchanges.
Meanwhile, new enrollment in federally run exchanges increased by 61% between 2014 and 2015, while state exchange enrollment increased by an average of 12% (Howell, AP/Washington Times, 4/7).
Overall enrollment in Covered California increased by just 1%, in part because about 200,000 residents who tried to sign up for exchange plans were shifted to coverage through Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, according to "Bay Area BizTalk."
The only states to have lower growth rates were Vermont and Washington, where enrollment dropped by 17% and 2%, respectively.
Meanwhile, Covered California retained 65.3% of its 2014 enrollees -- the fourth-lowest re-enrollment rate of all states that reported full data, according to the study ("Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 4/7).
Reasons for Findings
Avalere Senior Vice President Caroline Pearson said the data do "not explain why state-run exchanges did so poorly, relative to the federally facilitated exchange states."
The researchers suggested the findings could be because more state exchange enrollees moved to Medicaid after over-reporting their income in 2014. However, they also warned that it is unclear why the trend would have a greater effect on state-run exchanges (AP/Washington Times, 4/7).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.