Health Insurance Enrollment Numbers Not Expected Until Next Week
HARTFORD, CT — Connecticut’s insurance exchange, Access Health CT, stayed open longer than the federal exchange, but it won’t report its final enrollment numbers until Jan. 8.
As of Friday, Dec. 15, which was the deadline for the federal exchange, Connecticut had signed up more than 98,376 customers. At least 20,796 were new to the exchange, and as of Dec. 15 at least 7,200 customers who were enrolled in plans in 2017 had yet to sign up.
Connecticut consumers had until Dec. 22, 2017 to sign up.
There are always procrastinators and there are some consumers who may have found health insurance through their employers. That type of information won’t be known for quite some time.
Access Health CT CEO James Wadleigh predicted that enrollment in Connecticut’s exchange would be on par with where it was in 2017.
The national advertising budget for the federal exchange was cut substantially, but it didn’t seem to have a huge impact on enrollment.
More than 8.74 million people signed up for coverage in 2018 through the federal exchange at HealthCare.gov, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That exchange serves 39 states.
The number is just shy of the 9.2 million people who signed up for coverage in 2017.
In California and New York, enrollment doesn’t end until Jan. 31.
There were some big changes to health care this year that forced many insurance companies participating in the exchanges to increase their rates.
Funding for the cost-sharing reduction payments were eliminated, but funding for tax subsidies for those who qualify for the program were not.
Wadleigh has said consumers who are eligible for premium tax subsidies will see their monthly premiums decrease because the amount of the tax subsidy will increase as a result of the changes made by the Trump administration.
Before Christmas, while celebrating passage of tax reform Republican President Donald Trump said “We — I hate to say this, but we essentially repealed Obamacare, because we got rid of the individual mandate, which was terrible.”
Trump added “And that was a primary source of funding of Obamacare.”
The individual mandate was a fine on those who choose not to purchase insurance.
With the individual mandate gone, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that premiums could jump as much as 10 percent because fewer healthier individuals would participate in the exchanges.
But the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, involves more than just an individual mandate. It involves premium subsidies, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and Medicaid expansion.
Congress has yet to make a decision about cost-sharing payments and reinsurance.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who was one of three Senators to vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act, voted in favor of the tax package eliminating the individual mandate because she was promised a vote on bills to mitigate the impact of the mandate repeal. One bill would provide $5 billion per year for two years of reinsurance and another would restore the cost-sharing reductions.
It’s unclear what will happen this month as Congress looks to pass another spending bill before Jan. 19.