62,153 Sign Up For Coverage On Connecticut’s Exchange
Between Oct. 1 and midnight Monday, 62,153 Connecticut residents signed up for coverage through the state exchange, according to Access Health CT officials.
Monday was the deadline for residents to sign up if they wanted health coverage by Jan. 1, and it was the exchange’s busiest day. On average, about 1,400 residents were signing up daily over the past week, but on Monday 6,700 residents enrolled in plans, Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said Tuesday.
Of the 62,153 residents who enrolled, about 55 percent signed up for coverage with one of the three private insurance carriers and 45 percent qualified for Medicaid. On average, about 70 percent of those signing up for plans with private carriers have qualified for federal subsidies to offset the cost of their monthly premium.
Residents who missed the deadline Monday can still sign up for coverage through the exchange, but that coverage won’t take effect until Feb. 1. The cutoff for enrollment for coverage effective Feb. 1 is mid-January. The exchange will continue to be open for enrollment until March 31.
“Clearly there’s always a group of folks who are going to claim they thought they did everything right and something didn’t go through for whatever reason,” Counihan said.
It might have been a technical problem, or someone was assured they were enrolled when that was not the case. Counihan said he’s trying to anticipate consumer complaints before they happen, and he said he’s speaking with the executives from the three insurance carriers to see if they might consider a special enrollment period.
“We are not looking to penalize people,” Counihan said. “The whole point of this thing is to try and get more people insured.”
At the moment, Counihan said he doesn’t know how many people may have thought they signed up but never completed the process to the point where it would generate their enrollment. He expects the complaints to begin rolling in over the next few days.
Then there are individuals with plans that were canceled as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Those individuals have 60 days to claim a hardship exemption and enroll in a high-deductible, low-premium catastrophic plan even if they are over the age of 30. Prior to last week, those plans were only being offered to individuals under the age of 30.
Between now and Jan. 1, the roughly 34,300 who enrolled in a plan with a private insurance carrier through the exchange will receive confirmation they were enrolled along with a bill. Over the next week, insurance carriers will be busy downloading the enrollment information into their systems. Enrollees will have until Jan. 10 to pay that bill.
Counihan said the money has to be received by the insurance carriers before Jan. 10 and can’t be postmarked Jan. 10.
Residents who qualify for Medicaid can sign up for a plan at any point during the year, but will face a financial penalty if they go without insurance for more than three months.
Currently, Medicaid is only offered to individuals who fall below 55 percent of the federal poverty level, but that changes on Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid will be expanded to cover individuals under 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Roughly about 27,850 of the 62,153 enrollees qualified for Medicaid. There are currently more than 618,000 individuals in the state already receiving some form of Medicaid benefit. The federal government will cover the entire cost of Medicaid benefits until 2017.