CT’s Exchange Bucks Enrollment Trends In Other States
Of those, 4,065 have signed up for plans with one of the three private insurance carriers and 3,550 were enrolled in Medicaid. Meanwhile, 55 small businesses with 306 employees have signed up for coverage in the small group market.
The Medicaid to private insurance ratio bucks the trend being set in other states with their own exchanges. In some states, at least 9 out of 10 enrollees fall below 138 percent of the federal poverty level and are enrolling in Medicaid.
In Washington, 42,000 of the 49,000 enrolled in its state exchange in the first month qualified for Medicaid, according to a report published by the Seattle Times.
But Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan, who previously worked with the Connector in Massachusetts, said enrollment can’t be looked at solely on a one month or even a six month basis.
“It’s got to be looked at over a period of years,” Counihan said last week in an interview.
In the first month at the Connector in Massachusetts, which became the model for federal healthcare reform, only 123 people enrolled, he said. But by the end of its first year of enrollment, 171,847 were covered.
“In terms of the ACA [Affordable Care Act], these days it’s kind of this gotcha environment right now,” Counihan said. “You know to me this is a three- to four-year implementation period.”
“This stuff builds,” he said. “We’re barely in the first inning of a three-year game.”
Last week, President Barack Obama visited Boston to tout the Affordable Care Act, which is also commonly referred to as Obamacare.
“Health care reform in this state was a success,” Obama told a Boston audience. “That doesn’t mean it was perfect right away. There were early problems to solve. There were changes that had to be made. Anybody here who was involved in it can tell you that.”
The federal government — which is struggling with website problems — has declined to release enrollment numbers, but a handful of the states with their own exchanges have been reporting numbers.
Connecticut decided to report its enrollment numbers every two weeks even though Counihan said they were asked by the White House to report when they report, which is going to be once a month.
“Some states like California have already agreed to do that,” Counihan said. “Our board is not comfortable with that. They’ve actually tried to thread the needle a little bit and they’ve told us now to report every two weeks.”
There have been problems over the past week with the federal data hub going down both unexpectedly and for scheduled maintenance.
Connecticut’s exchange, which doesn’t rely as much as some other states on the federal database for information, does need to communicate with the federal hub to verify identity and income of its enrollees. The application process cannot be completed without verifying the information with the federal hub.
Counihan said enrollment may be impacted slightly by news about the federal website and the angst coming out of Washington.
“I think there’s sort of an overtone of confusion with some of this,” Counihan said. “Hopefully by Nov. 30 when some of the fixes come through a lot of this noise will wind down.”
Residents who are interested in receiving coverage through the exchange on Jan. 1 will have to finalize their application by Dec. 15. Enrollment in the exchange is open through March 31.