State-Based Health Exchange Officials Provide Update On Enrollments

Jan 15, 2014

Credit 401(K) 2013/Creative Commons

The monthly update from Families USA on the progress of five state-sponsored health insurance plans was held this afternoon.

Connecticut and New York exchange officials were among those providing updates on insurance enrollments and what efforts are being made to ramp up for the March 31st deadline, the end date for 2014 coverage enrollment. In Connecticut, 83,165 people have signed up, according to Access Health CT Chief Executive Officer Kevin Counihan, who spoke on the pro-Affordable Care Act Families USA call.   “Over the next four weeks, for the first time in Connecticut’s history, our uninsured level will drop below 8 percent.  We are very focused on 2015 open enrollment right now. We believe we’ll be adding somewhere on the order of two to three new carriers, which is basically doubling the amount of choice that we offer at present.”

NY State of Health Deputy Director Danielle Holahan reported that as of January 12th, nearly 300,000 people had enrolled in the state exchange. The call center is receiving more than 1,300 calls and enrolling about 7,000 people daily.   “We’re on track to meet if not exceed our goal of 1.1 million New Yorkers enrolled by the end of 2016. We have found that about half of our enrollees were previously uninsured. We also know that of our Qualified Health Plan enrollees 68 percent enrolled with financial assistance. And we’re doing what we can to continue the outreach effort and continue these enrollment volumes.”

The five states are increasing efforts to enroll young adults. In Connecticut, 29 percent of enrollees are under 35 and in New York, Danielle Holahan reports 30 percent are under 35.   “We don’t have the hard data right now that breaks by age and income simultaneously, but it is correlated that younger adults are more on the low income side as they’re starting out in their careers. So I would estimate that a larger share of the younger population will be enrolling  with financial assistance.”

Kevin Counihan noted that Connecticut has developed an alliance with ClearChannel, NBC, Live Nation and TeleMundo on digital and social media marketing to bring youth to the exchange.  “Young Hispanic males represent the highest percentage of uninsured by a segment in our state. And so it’s very important to us that we do everything that we can to work with our community outreach workers and others to address this issue and impact this population.”

There have been some problems. Counihan says about 40 percent of Connecticut’s calls relate to enrollees who have yet to receive a January premium statement or ID cards.  “The plan that’s got about two-thirds of the market in our state’s been struggling a little bit with keeping up with the enrollments and getting premium statements out and such.  We believe they’re pretty much caught up now. So some of those calls are receding a bit. It’s been disruptive a bit."

Danielle Holahan says New York’s call centers are getting similar calls.  “We’re working individual cases to help people get these confirmations and we’re still doing some work to clean out the folks that who are still needing to get their enrollment affectuated.”.

Exchange directors from California, Kentucky and the state of Washington also reported on their state-based health insurance marketplaces.