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Access Health CT Enrollment Reaches 152,561

by Staff Report | Mar 10, 2014 4:46pm
(15) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Health Care

With a little more than 20 days left to enroll in Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT is reporting that a total of 152,561 individuals have enrolled since Oct. 1.

Those who have not enrolled yet and remain uninsured have just three more weeks to shop for coverage in order to avoid tax penalties.

“The deadline to enroll is getting closer, and we’re working hard to reach as many residents as possible to help them enroll and avoid tax penalties,” Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said in a press release. “If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time to visit our website, call our call center, visit an enrollment center or make an appointment for one-on-one assistance.”

The deadline to enroll is March 31. The tax penalty for going uninsured in 2014 is 1 percent of your gross household federal income tax filing or $95 per person, whichever is greater.

Connecticut’s enrollment for the first few months had bucked the federal trend, which saw more people signing up for Medicaid. That trend finally caught up to Connecticut in the last two months of enrollment.

According to Access Health CT, 60,534 people have signed up for plans with Anthem, Healthy CT, and ConnectiCare. The rest, or 92,027 individuals, have signed up for Medicaid plans that are funded by the federal government.

Of the Medicaid enrollees, 69,692 have signed up under Medicaid expansion, which increased the qualifying amount of income to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. About 22,335 have enrolled and would have qualified for Medicaid in the past because their income was under 55 percent of the federal poverty level.

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(15) Comments

posted by: Just another CT resident | March 11, 2014  8:08am

Since the goal of ACA was to insure more uninsured people in CT, I wish the writer had included the following facts about the enrollees:
1) How many of the enrollees did not previously have health insurance?
2) How many Medicaid enrollees are simply renewing their Medicaid insurance?
3) What are the demographics of the newly insured enrollees? Young? Old? healthy? pre-existing conditions? etc.
4) How will this demographic impact next year’s insurance premiums?
5) How many uninsured people live in this state?
6) How many people living in this state are still uninsured?
Thanks

posted by: Christine Stuart | March 11, 2014  8:40am

Christine Stuart

Just Another CT Resident, As soon as I get answers to those questions you will have the answer, but the officials at Access Health CT have no idea when it comes to how many people were previously uninsured because they frankly don’t know. Doubtful I will get an answer to that in the coming days. The demographic information should be available March 27 at their next board meeting. I’ve been following this and will continue to give readers as much as I can. In the meantime, I don’t believe the demographics have changed that much from Feb. You can view the chart here

posted by: joemanc | March 11, 2014  9:57am

As a parallel to this story, how about a story detailing health insurance premium increases in CT? I got my increase yesterday, and it was a whopping 24%! The existing provider wanted 45% more. We were told that this has been a pretty common size increase in CT.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 11, 2014  3:03pm

From a CT Mirror story last Oct 2nd:

“Connecticut has about 345,000 uninsured residents, many of whom are expected to qualify for discounted insurance rates through Access Health. Between 55,000 and 60,000 are expected to become eligible for Medicaid on Jan. 1, when the state, as part of Obamacare, raises the income threshold for adults without minor children to qualify.”

If you are on Medicaid, you don’t have to “renew” and you’re not allowed to sign up through AccessHealthCT.

Given those numbers, Obamacare is reaching at least 43.5% of the previously uninsured.  Their goal for this year was 29% (100,000 signups).  They still have two weeks to go, so topping 50% is not impossible.

posted by: Jess Sayin | March 13, 2014  6:36am

Actually, since Jan 1 of this year, all HUSKY Medicaid applications ere required to be processed through access health CT, with the exception of those for Medicaid for disabled (otherwise known as Husky C). Re determinations will also be done through AHCT.  So the number of apps processed DO include Medicaid enrollment and re enrollment. DSS no longer processes HUSKY applications, Long John.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 13, 2014  10:07am

Jess—my son is on Medicaid. We went to an AccessHealthCT sign up session in November where they were unable to process him because he’s already covered.  Possibly in May when he comes up for renewal he’ll be processed through the exchange, but I doubt that it will count as a sign up like those who come in without any coverage at all.

Until we hear differently from someone who works there, I think we have to assume that the Medicaid numbers they’ve announced are new participants and not re-enrollments, and that the totals represent an overall reduction in the uninsured population.

posted by: Christine Stuart | March 13, 2014  10:24am

Christine Stuart

The number of people on Medicaid in the state of Connecticut prior to the ACA was around 618,000 so the numbers above are new enrollments.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 13, 2014  2:28pm

I saw a report two days ago that said that 1/3rd of all new Medicaid signups for Obamacare nationally are former convicts. I actually dont mind that because it means they are obviously out and trying to be responsible by signing up for something.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 13, 2014  4:34pm

Joe—it always helps to give us a source.  It’s impossible to evaluate otherwise.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 14, 2014  7:27am

Sure, its also in the NY Times which used to be the best of the best but is now the poster child for everything wrong with journalism.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/03/11/justice-dept-at-least-35-of-people-eligible-for-obamacares-medicaid-expansion-are-ex-convicts/

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 14, 2014  9:11am

Joe—I hadn’t seen the Forbes article, but I did see the NYT piece.  There’s a huge difference between “eligible” and “signups”, and many of these aren’t ex-convicts but people still in jail. 

In fact, what the NYT article shows is that some states have found a (probably unintended) loophole allowing them to shift a portion of current convict healthcare cost to the feds.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/us/little-known-health-act-fact-prison-inmates-are-signing-up.html?hpw&rref=us&_r=0

The Forbes article relies on estimates that start with the fact that ten million people are either in jail or being released every year.  Many people in jail today are there as a result of the so-called “war on drugs”, which has caused incomparable harm to our country. 

So another article in today’s NYT gave me some hope:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/us/gop-moving-to-ease-stance-on-sentencing.html?hp

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 14, 2014  2:34pm

Long John I did reread it and I misinterpreted the article. You are right BUT boy are you WRONG about the war on drugs harm to this country. Maybe I am misreading you and you think we should be more strict but I get the feeling that you might want more lax positions on people getting drugged up.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 14, 2014  4:52pm

Joe, thanks for acknowledging your mistake.

I believe we’ve put millions of people in jail and ruined their lives and the lives of their families because they prefer marijuana or some other drug to alcohol. 

I’m not in favor of “getting drugged up”, but I also feel that most adults should be allowed to make these choices as long as they’re not hurting someone else directly.

posted by: Joebigjoe | March 15, 2014  11:27am

The issue is the definition of “directly.”

There are so many examples but this is about healthcare so let me focus on that.

I use drugs in the privacy of my own home. Drugs are now legal in my hypothetical.

I now want to get off drugs because I can tell my body is getting messed up. Who pays for that?

I now want to get off drugs or maybe I dont want to, but my children are psychologically messed up because they have seen me on drugs for years and I have not been able to be there for them emotionally and physically present, so they are a mess. Can’t drive them for ice cream for family time as I am stoned, sleep all kinds of crazy hours trying to shake off the affects. Who pays for that?

We have enough issues with alcohol as an argument can be made my some that we allow that. OK, then why would we want to double down on our problems with substances that take us from who we are to being another person? That’s not free. Someone else pays for peoples party time.

posted by: LongJohn47 | March 16, 2014  6:48pm

Joe—I get that allowing drugs to become legal will add to overall healthcare costs as you point out.

You ask “why would we want to double down”?

I ask “when will we accept that prohibiting drugs has been no more successful than the original prohibition of alcohol?” 

The “war on drugs” enriches criminal cartels, breeds a disrespect for the rule of law in the general population, and destroys millions of lives, directly and indirectly, through incarceration and its aftermath.

It’s **possible** that someone who smokes marijuana won’t be physically and emotionally there for their family.  Some will, some won’t—just like with alcohol.

However, it’s **certain** that everyone who’s in jail will not and cannot be there for their families.  Furthermore, when they get out they continue to be stigmatized and legally restricted so that getting a job, rejoining society, and being a good citizen is next to impossible.

Putting someone in jail for a felony, as so many drug convictions do, essentially removes them from society for the rest of their lives.  It destroys their ability to earn a decent living, and makes it more than likely that they’ll have to do something illegal just to survive.

The costs to them and to their families, and ultimately to society, is incalculable.  As public policy it’s misguided and destructive at best, racist at worst, and it needs to be ended.