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Access Health CT Says Enrollment Surged At End of March

by Christine Stuart | May 22, 2014 2:46pm
(15) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Health Care

On the last day of enrollment on Connecticut’s health insurance exchange there were so many people waiting in line that Access Health CT officials decided to enroll some of them at a later date.

Access Health CT Chief Operating Officer Peter Van Loon said there were about 10,000 people waiting in line physically or virtually and exchange staff got about 5,000 to actually buy a plan or sign up for Medicaid.

“We made them backdated, as if they went through by March 31,” Van Loon told the board Thursday.

When the counting was done about 80,018 had signed up with one of the three private insurance carriers on the exchange. Of those, 61,939 are receiving a tax credit from the federal government and 18,079 have purchased plans that aren’t being subsidized. Another 149,013 individuals were enrolled in Medicaid, which has been expanded to include people who make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

There are another 7,000 who signed up for plans, but never paid their first premium so are not counted and are no longer enrolled.

Total enrollment in health insurance plans through the exchange has gone up to 229,031 because there’s been an increase in Medicaid over the past two months. There is no enrollment deadline or period for those enrolling in Medicaid, but those who want to enroll in a private plan through the exchange will have to wait until the new enrollment period, which begins in November.

Van Loon said enrollment in the private insurance plans is expected to go down over the next few months because “people are at the cusp of Medicaid eligibility.” As a result they would come off the private insurance rolls and go onto a government sponsored plan.

“The other aspect is non-payment,” Van Loon said. “We expect people as they move forward to not pay their bills and as a result they will be stricken from the rolls.”

As far as demographics are concerned, Van Loon said there hasn’t been much change since March when it looked like 18-to-34-year-olds waited until the last-minute to enroll.

The 18-to-34-year-old demographic went up one percent to about 25 percent of the total number enrolled in private plans. At the other end of the spectrum the 55-to-64 age group was up around 40 percent in 2013 when enrollment started, but is now down to 30 percent.

But what surprised officials the most was the continued call volume after the end of the enrollment period.

Access Health CT is still receiving 3,000 to 4,000 calls per day.

“It hasn’t gone down appreciably and we don’t think it’s going to be,” Van Loon said.

He said about 50 percent of the calls relate to applications, most of which are Medicaid. Some have questions about how enrollment works.

Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said there continue to be questions because “the administration of this law create a confluence of the new Affordable Care Act rules, IRS rules, insurance rules, SSA rules, and in many instances it’s the grafting of layer and layer of these different rules.” He said sometimes all those rules contradict each other.

Deputy Insurance Commissioner Anne Melissa Dowling said there are many people who have questions about the insurance policy they purchased because for many it’s the first time they have insurance.

“What did I just buy? A lot of newly insured people are saying, ‘What is a deductible?’,” Dowling said. “...We see that as a really positive situation. That they’re new consumers, new insurance, newly insured and so I strongly endorse keeping the call center open.”

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(15) Comments

posted by: CitizenCT | May 22, 2014  3:05pm

How many of the 80,018 now covered were previously uninsured?

posted by: John Galt is who?? | May 22, 2014  9:37pm

What will the cost of the 149,000 Medicaid enrolees be to the state when the federal government phases out the 100%  subsidy?

posted by: Politijoe | May 22, 2014  9:47pm

Politijoe

CitizenCt,  I’m curious about your question, not to suggest its not valid, just wondering if you feel uninsured verses underinsured is relevant?

posted by: Christine Stuart | May 23, 2014  12:01am

Christine Stuart

I promise as soon as they can answer that question I will publish a story about it. They just don’t have the information.

Christine

posted by: shinningstars122 | May 23, 2014  5:35am

shinningstars122

@JohnGalt the point is those 149,000 would eventual need helathcare services and ultimately they would seek it at an emergency room and at the last minute, which would more than likely be the most expense option for the hospital and the tax payer.

The difference in having them enrolled is that you can control costs by having preventive/ routine care and not always going to the emergency room or when they are experiencing a major health crisis.

Christine is there data to say how many of these 149,000 are children?

posted by: GBear423 | May 23, 2014  6:07am

GBear423

For the lion’s share of the youngsters out there (18-35yr olds) does the exchange offer low premium plans with an HSA?  If this was an option when I was in that age group I would have saved ALOT of money. Fortunately I am in good health still and am able to benefit from such a plan. It is in my opinion one of the best Insurance products out there.

posted by: CitizenCT | May 23, 2014  6:27am

Politjoe, if the majority of the 80,018 were previously uninsured, I’d view the program, at least in CT, as a success.  If the majority were previously insured and now 61,939 simply have other taxpayers contributing toward their insurance bill, I’d view the program as a failure.  In terms of over/under insured, consumers should have more choice as to what fits their particular circumstance.

posted by: Just another CT resident | May 23, 2014  8:00am

Christine -
That’s the question I asked a while back and the question they won’t answer until journalists press people at Access Health CT, like Peter Van Loon, to answer it. So please get on their case and find out.
Thanks

posted by: One and Done | May 23, 2014  10:44am

Good luck finding a doctor who will take these patients.  When emergency room visits begin to skyrocket, do you think they will realize their mistake?

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 23, 2014  12:04pm

Fantastic! A CT healthcare story that dovetails to a national story going on right now. I’ll spare you the criminal acts of this administration as it relates to our Veterans in this post, but I will get to the direct criminal and offensive lies of Barack Obama as our veterans get treated like garbage.

The LA Times, obviously not a wholly owned susidiary of Fox News broke this story and the WSJ went next.

On May 16 Obama through an executive order that the Times said is illegal decided to give a bailout to the insurance companies on Obamacare. No, this was not what was in the bill as the administration has tried to spin but BILLIONS of dollars to the insurance companies under a new order. One thing I do agree with with my progressive friends on this site is their argument that corporations get too much government money. From here on in dont use the word Republican when you make that comment because it is now clearly the Dems too just throwing away our money and that of our children to finance this horrific legislation.

HHS said “this program (bailout) is nothing new.” Again lie and spin.

I wont waste your time with the details as you can search it out yourselves if interested but when the LA Times says that Obama is trying to pull a fast one and this is illegal, then maybe some of his apologists will pay attention.

Its yet another Fraud perpetrated on the American people by the Liar in Chief which he is.

Think thats too strong then I’ll go VA on you. Veterans issues was his wifes and Jill Bidens main project. The Bush White House transition team told HIM directly that this issue was brewing yet he tells us now that TV was the first he heard of it. Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson asked people to send him emails if they were Veterans having issues with care at the VA. In 3 days he got thousands of emails that he put into a bunch of boxes that would go to Washington. Many of these people had said they had written Obama, and written Shinseki, yet Obama can pull some meaningless email out from some woman needing to pay for contraceptives and make that a big media push but he was unaware of Veterans not getting care? Anyone supporting this man at this point in time should be ashamed of yourself. Ashamed!!

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 23, 2014  12:10pm

I’ll answer your question PolitiJoe.

Uninsured vs underinsured is relevant.

What’s next, making sure that everyone has the same car? the same life insurance? the same food? The same house to live in?

Life isnt fair, and then you die.

posted by: Politijoe | May 23, 2014  10:53pm

Politijoe

CitizenCt your response regarding uninsured relevant to underinsured confuses me. You stated “If the majority of the 80,000 were previously uninsured that would be a success. If the majority were previously insured and now 61,939 simply have other taxpayers contributing toward their insurance bill, I’d view the program as a failure.”

The thing is if they were Uninsured or UNDERinsured then in either case it was generally not by choice but because they couldn’t get insurance or the only policy they could get or afford was a junk policy. That’s not an equitable system, nor a system that provides adequate consumer protections. Furthermore it’s an inefficient model which costs taxpayers MORE in the long run. Therefore from a strictly financial perspective the convoluted, employer-based, out of pocket healthcare system in the U.S. already has other taxpayers contributing toward their insurance. We’re simply allocating the costs in a very inefficient manner.

I completely agree with your statement that consumers should have more choice as to what fits their particular circumstance. the ACA accomplishes just that. It provides those who were previously uninsurable and those who couldn’t qualify or afford quality insurance the opportunity for more choice beyond simply no insurance or inadequate junk policies.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 24, 2014  2:44pm

In November 2011, Paul Krugman wrote that the VA was a triumph of socialized medicine. I guess he was wrong huh?

No one can argue that the system we had wasnt working and needed to be tweaked and in some specific areas flat out changed. The ACA is not the answer.

We are seeing rationing of services to men and women that served this country. We are seeing people bonused for not seeing people yet people like to whine about what doctors in the private sector make for seeing patients.

There is now alot of research out that throwing alot of money at the VA hasnt made things any better.

Doctors have been on TV lately talking about how their jobs were threatened if the spoke up before about what was going on and the governments games.

Whether or not Shinseki should be fired is a sideshow. The real story of the VA scandal is the failure of what liberals have long hailed as the model of government health care, and the direct lies of the POTUS to the people of this country. Not even double entendre spin but vile lies.

I really want to know why great healthcare is such a right but great food, a nice car, a nice house, world class schools is not?

Basic healthcare I do feel is a right but beyond that I just don’t see it unless you have done the right things in your life. The person who has done the right things all their life and are now 55 and without a job has qualified for that. I just read it yesterday and I wish I could recall where but in NYC most people today getting dialysis are illegal immigrants. How the heck does that make sense? 

If someone has a junk policy it’s not that I don’t feel bad for them but when the cost to get them a better policy is borne by me and my children its infuriating. We are all born equal and it’s offensive to me after years of busting my tail and traveling away from my family around the world and missing alot of events that I need to subsidize someone who didnt put forth the effort in life.

posted by: John Galt is who?? | May 25, 2014  10:24am

@shinningstars122 you missed my point, the Medicaid 100% subsidy to the state will only be in place for 3 years before it returns to prior levels, (I believe to be 50% to 65%, I’m not sure of exact percentages.). With the increased enrollment and expanded benefits required by Obama Care what will the effect be on our already overburdened State budget?
This echoes the burden that the state required of local municipalities through the 1986 Educational Enhancement Act, when, for three years, the state funded 100% of the increase in the cost of teacher salaries before throwing the obligation back to the municipalities.
Do not worry about the emergency room visits, with the reduced Medicaid reimbursement rates to Doctors there will be fewer Doctors accepting Medicaid forcing a return to the Emergency room and additional increased cost to the taxpayer; just like any other program, the government gets involved with.
“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Ronald Reagan

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 27, 2014  4:15pm

Not my words but this is more concise.

“It figures the Obama administration would wait for a three-day weekend to announce its latest executive rule change to Obamacare (aka the “law of the land”).

This one is a doozy. The implications are so far-reaching that the official White House newspaper, the New York Times, buried the story by Robert Pear on page A12 of the New York edition. Here’s the gist of it:

Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the Obama administration has squelched the idea in a new ruling. Such arrangements do not satisfy the health care law, the administration said, and employers may be subject to a tax penalty of $100 a day — or $36,500 a year — for each employee who goes into the individual marketplace.


Nice huh?

Representative Republic or Dictatorship?