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Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington | 0 comments

Enrollment Progress for Public Health Insurance Exchanges

Amid technical problems, the initial rush to get a peak at the new health insurance exchanges slows.

Visitors to the HealthCare.gov exchange site, along with those visiting some individual state exchange sites, were prevented from browsing plans before creating an account, but without the ability to ‘window shop’ anonymously, (which is now an option on the HealthCare.gov website) many felt forced to set up an account. The number of visitors to the federal website, HealthCare.gov, has dropped by 88 percent between October 1 and  less than half of one percent of the site’s visitors successfully enrolled for health insurance. We will now wait to see how many of those who created accounts will actually follow through with the enrollment process. In order to have coverage before the PPACA insurance mandate penalty deadline, consumers must enroll in coverage well before the actual March 31 deadline. However, according to Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, HHS is working to fix the conflict between the end of open enrollment and the PPACA health insurance mandate penalty.

While the federal government has not officially released federal exchange plan enrollment data, here is an overview of how enrollment is panning out across the country:

 Federally-Facilitated Exchange
  • In the first 24 hours, the federal website HealthCare.gov saw 4.7 million unique visitors; 190,000 Americans used federal exchange call centers and another 104,000 requested live chats
  • In the first 3 days, there were 8.6 million unique visitors to the website and 406,000 calls
  • In the first week, the site saw 9.4 million unique visitors
  • In the first 11 days, the website saw 14.6 million unique visitors
  • The Obama administration had “unnamed sources” tell the AP that consumers had submitted a total of 476,000 applications through state and federal public exchanges
 insurance-marketplace-map-state-based-exchanges
  • States which chose to set up their own state-operated health insurance exchange are seeing a smoother implementation and more enrollment progress than the federal exchange. According to the New York Times, “Alan R. Weil, the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, an independent nonpartisan group, credited the relative early success of some state exchanges to the fact that they could leap on problems more quickly than the sprawling, complex federal marketplace.”
  • “Individual state operations are more adaptable,” Mr. Weil said. “That does not mean that states get everything right. But they can respond more quickly to solve problems as they arise.”
  • Several states which chose to establish a state-based exchange are seeing not just heavy website traffic, but significant enrollment figures.
California
  • The exchange website received 645,000 hits in the first 24 hours, including 514,000 unique visitors; the call center received 19,000 calls
  • More than 16,300 applications were processed during the marketplace’s first five days of operation; it is not clear how many people actually purchased coverage for 2014
  • An additional 27,300 California households have started to fill out an application (applications can cover more than one person)
  • Applicants are not officially enrolled until they have selected a health plan and paid their portion of the premium. Covered California officials said they will not release the number of applicants who have taken those steps until monthly enrollment reports begin in November.
 Colorado
  • On the first day, the exchange had 79,000 online visitors and 3,700 live chats and calls; about 5,500 people created accounts
  • From Oct. 1 through Oct. 7, residents created 18,174 accounts and 305 people were enrolled through 226 enrollment applications
 Connecticut
  • 82,939 website visitors, 5,094 phone calls and 753 applications processed over three days (as of 4 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 3); it is unclear how many of the 753 people enrolled in Medicaid or private plans
  • A spokeswoman for one of the insurance companies offering plans through the exchange said the new nonprofit has received more than 100,000 unique visitors to its website over the three days following the opening of the exchange
  • As of Thursday Oct. 10, 1,847 applications were processed; Peter Van Loon, chief operating officer for Access Health CT said the figure is closely split between people eligible for Medicaid and those signing up for private insurance plans
  • Nearly one-third of enrollees are between 18 and 34 years old; , it doesn’t appear that the enrollees’ age is skewed toward older or younger people
  • Van Loon said he was disappointed by the low number of small businesses signing up for coverage; but did not disclose a figure
 District of Columbia
  • Consumers submitted 1,112 applications for individual coverage during the first week of operation, including 517 applications from consumers who aren’t expecting Medicaid coverage or subsidies and 595 from consumers who hope to qualify for Medicaid or subsidies
  • The exchange received eight complete applications for group coverage from small businesses
  • District residents have created 8,427 individual accounts and about 250 employer accounts
 Hawaii
  • The Hawaii Health Connector opened for business without specific plans to purchase, though they did take in hundreds of applications that promise more information later
  • Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser are the only two carriers participating on the new online marketplace
  • HMSA saw roughly 50,000 visitors to its site from Tuesday through noon Thursday, up from about 28,000 in the same period last week; there were about 250 visitors to the HMSA center in Honolulu, which previously has seen around 40 consumers per day
 Idaho
  • On day one, the exchange saw 18,500 unique website visits, with 85,900 total page views. Each unique visitor viewed an average 5.78 pages, and spent approximately 3.58 minutes looking at the website
  • Idaho Exchange Board member Scott Krelling, an executive with Regence Blue Shield insurance of Idaho, reported that his company had not yet enrolled any new customers through the state exchange
  • Consumers in Idaho cannot enroll directly through the state’s exchange website; Idaho’s exchange website links to the federal exchange, this is where Idaho consumers can enroll in coverage
 Iowa
  • Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says technical problems continue with the new “insurance exchange” website that “opened” on Tuesday to help uninsured Iowans buy health care coverage
  • Gerhart said that he was “unaware of someone who has successfully enrolled, through the marketplace, to any of these carriers. It may have happened this morning, but as of yesterday, it had not happened.”
 Kentucky
  • As of 4 p.m. Wednesday October 2, 10,766 applications for health coverage had been initiated, 6,909 had been completed and 2,989 individuals or families had enrolled in new coverage
  • By early Friday October 4, nearly 11,000 applications had been completed and 4,739 individuals or families had picked health plans and signed up for coverage. More than 137,000 people had browsed the website and 93 percent of them went through pre-screenings to determine if they qualify for subsidized coverage or Medicaid
  • As of Oct. 4, 166 small businesses had started applications for health insurance for employees
  • By Monday Oct. 7, more than 14,000 had completed applications, and almost 7,000 had enrolled in plans. An additional 155,000 people had checked to see if they were eligible for subsidies or for Medicaid. And 209 small businesses had started applications
  • As of Oct. 21, the Kynect exchange said it’s enrolled 15,803 individuals in coverage; residents started 45,096 individual coverage applications and completed 32,203. Businesses started 378 group coverage applications
 Maryland
  • As of Sunday October 6, there were around 170,000 unique visitors to the website, 13,532 accounts with verified identity created and 326 people were enrolled
  • By October 18, there were 34,000 identity-verified exchange accounts created and 2,393 enrolled
 Minnesota
 Nevada
 New Mexico
  • Individuals will use the federal exchange to enroll in coverage while employers can use the state operated Small Business Health Options Program, SHOP
  • By Monday October 7, 486 employers had begun the application process
 New York
  • New York State of Health, the state’s exchange, announced that 2 million people visited the site within the first two hours of launch
  • By October 8, 40,000 New Yorkers had completed the full application process, been deemed eligible for health insurance plans and can now choose plans
  • In the first three weeks, 37,030 New Yorkers enrolled in health insurance plans; 136,970 have already completed the application process and been deemed eligible, but have not yet enrolled
 Oregon
  • On day one, Cover Oregon, drew nearly 122,000 visitors and 3,500 phone calls
  • In the first week, the exchange had 230,000 unique visitors
 Rhode Island
  • In the first three days, 26,039 Rhode Islanders visited the site. About 3000 people created accounts but not everyone made it through verification due to other issues; 580 people made it all the way through the process
  • During the first two weeks, an average of 3,740 accounts were set up per week and the exchange processed an average of 850 applications per week
  • The week from Oct. 13 through Oct. 19, consumers set up 1,764 accounts and HealthSource RI processed a total of 951 applications
 Vermont
  • As of October 15, 631 people had selected plans; plans have not been paid for and premium processing won’t begin until November
 Washington
  • The exchange’s website had more than 837,000 visits by 165,332 unique visitors in its first week and more than 39,00 accounts were set up
  • In the first week, 9,452 enrollments had been completed and an additional 10,000 applications were completed and pending a payment process for enrollment
  • By October 15, nearly 25,000 residents had signed up for insurance and an additional 37,000 residents had completed online applications that are awaiting payment in Decemeber

Follow this blog to receive updates about health insurance exchanges.

Jillian Carlile Research Analyst & Health Exchange know-it-all Strenuus jcarlile@strenuus.com

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