Connecticut

This was actually released a month ago, but I was a bit preoccupied with my kid's Bar Mitzvah at the time (he did great, by the way, thanks for asking!).

Access Health CT, Connecticut's state-based ACA exchange, released their 2019 Open Enrollment Period report, and it's one of the most extensively detailed & granual looks at the year's enrollment data. They've included the normal stuff, of course (subsidized vs. unsubsidized, metal levels, age and income brackets, etc)...but they've also done a very deep dive into data points I haven't seen before by cross-indexing categories.

For instance, not only did they break out "enrollment attrition reasons" (that is, why 2018 enrollees who didn't renew their policies chose not to), but they actually broke that out into what those enrollees' financial assistance status was.

The level of detail here is pretty impressive and somewhat overwhelming (there's 25 pages of charts & graphs), but if you're a healthcare nerd interested in what's going on in the Nutmeg State, knock yourself out!

With useful healthcare legislation extremely unlikely to pass the U.S. Senate until at least 2021, state-based public options will be all the rage for the next couple of years...

Connecticut lawmakers are joining other states that have unveiled proposals to expand government-run health coverage, with plans to extend state health benefits to small businesses and nonprofits, and to explore a public option for individuals.

Under two measures announced Thursday, officials would open the state health plan to nonprofits and small companies – those with 50 or fewer employees – and form an advisory council to guide the development of a public option. The legislation would allow the state to create a program, dubbed “ConnectHealth,” that offers low-cost coverage to people who don’t have employer-sponsored insurance.

Livetweets from the Access Health CT monthly board meeting. It's important to note that the Connecticut ACA exchange originally was going to stick with the "official" 2019 Open Enrollment deadline of December 15th, but after the horribly-timed judicial ruling in the #TexasFoldEm federal lawsuit, decided to bump their 2019 enrollment deadline out by an extra month after all:

OVERVIEW: We ended #OpenEnrollment with 111,066 Active 2019 Enrollees. Of those, 71% qualified for premium tax credits.#AHCTBoDMeeting #CustomerFirst

— Access Health CT (@AccessHealthCT) January 17, 2019

I just updated AccessHealthCT's numbers a week ago; it looks like they only added 428 more people over the next seven days:

With the clock ticking, Access Health CT’s latest statistics show they are closing in on last year’s numbers.

As of Friday afternoon there are now 109,126 Connecticut residents enrolled in insurance plans through the exchange. The deadline for enrolling was extended to Jan. 15. 

Last year 114,000 Connecticut residents enrolled in plans sold on the exchange.

CT is just over 5,000 signups shy of last year's 114,134 QHP selection total. They probably added a couple hundred more over the weekend (weekends are always slower anyway), but the odds of matching last year's total by tomorrow (Tuesday) night are extremely slim. My guess is they'll end up between 110K - 111K.

From Covered California:

Covered California’s Iconic Bus Tour Rolls into San Francisco to Promote Health Insurance Enrollment Ahead of Final Deadline

  •  Covered California’s bus tour promotes enrollment and encourages consumers to see if they are eligible for financial help in obtaining quality health insurance.
  •  The San Francisco visit coincides with the release of Governor Gavin Newsom’s budget which focuses on making health care more affordable through increased financial help and a state individual shared responsibility provision.
  •  Consumers have through Jan. 15 to sign up and select a plan, through Covered California or directly with health plans, for Feb. 1 coverage.
  •  An estimated 1.1 million uninsured Californians are eligible to enroll in Covered California and research shows that 82 percent of uninsured consumers surveyed, who are eligible for financial assistance, do not know that they qualify.

When I last checked on Access Health CT, Connecticut's ACA exchange, their 2019 Open Enrollment Period tally was about 10% short of their final number from 2018, by around 11,700 people. However, they still had a solid month left to make up the gap, with the enrollment deadline extended out until January 15th, 2019.

CT still has another week to go, but I just received a partial update, as of January 4th.

That's a net increase of 6,286 QHP selections between 12/15/18 - 1/04/19, or around 300 per day on average. At that rate, they'd add around 3,300 more by the final 1/15 deadline, putting them 112,000...still around 2,100 shy of last year. On the other hand, that timeframe included both Christmas and New Year's Eve, when enrollment tends to drop through the floor, so there's still a chance of Access Health CT at least matching 2018, though exceeding the 114,134 tally would be a pretty tall order at this point.

So, it's over, right? Well...not quite. The 2019 ACA Open Enrollment Period officially ended last night...but only in 43 states. In the remaining seven (+DC), Open Enrollment hasn't ended yet2019 ACA Open Enrollment is still ongoing for nearly 10% of the population!

  • In Massachusetts, open enrollment runs through Jan. 23rd, 2019 for coverage starting February 1st

ALSO...

Connecticut was originally supposed to end their 2019 Open Enrollment Period on Saturday, December 15th along with most other states. However, on Saturday afternoon, just hours before the midnight deadline, they announced that they were bumping out the final deadline by a full month, through January 15th, to coincide with California and Colorado. This was done mostly in response to the mass confusion and fear which spread rapidly on Friday night and all day Saturday as people heard about the ruling in the #TexasFoldEm lawsuit.

It's probably just as well that they did that, because according to this article in Hartford Business, Access Health CT was down about 10% from last year:

As of Friday, the day of the Texas court ruling and one day before the original enrollment deadline, Access Health was reporting 102,412 enrollees in non-Medicaid health plans offered on the exchange.

This Just In, via Louise Norris...

On December 15, Access Health CT announced a one-month extension for 2019 enrollment. The exchange had planned to end enrollment on December 15, but the new deadline is January 15. People who enroll between December 16 and January 15 will have coverage effective February 1, 2019.

Two weeks ago I reported that Access Health CT, Connecticut's ACA exchange, had enrolled 12,777 people in 2019 ACA exchange policies, running neck and neck with last year. This included active renewals and new enrollees only.

Last night, CT Post reported that as of November 30th, the CT exchange had gone ahead and auto-renewed all current enrollees as well, for a total of 101,054 people:

HARTFORD — Enrollment in Access Health CT is higher this year than it was last year at this time, but time is running out.

Officials said they’ve enrolled 9.685 customers who are new to the exchange this year, and they’ve auto-enrolled more than 91,000 customers who purchased plans with them in 2018. That brings total enrollment up to 101,054 individuals as of Nov. 30.

Last year, about 90,428 individuals had enrolled by this time.

via Christine Stewart of CT News Junkie (11/15/18):

Access Health Enrollment Off To Steady Start

HARTFORD, CT — The number of customers purchasing plans through Connecticut’s insurance exchange is around what it was last year in the first two weeks of open enrollment.

Since Nov. 1, 12,777 customers have shopped and purchased a plan for 2019, according to Access Health CT officials. That means about 85,000 enrollees have yet to renew into a 2019 policy.

...Traffic on the website is trending about 18 percent higher than it was at this time last year, according to Access Health CT’s Director of Technical Operations and Analytics Robert Blundo.

...An estimated 60 percent of customers are picking plans that are different from their plan in 2018 and that’s compared to only 18 percent who were changing their plans last year. It also means there are a higher percentage of customers using brokers to help them make a decision about the health plan that’s right for them.

The Reinsurance Train keeps chugging along.

In 2017, three states established their own ACA market reinsurance program utilizing the ACA's Section 1332 State Innovation Waiver provision to keep unsubsidized premiums from spiraling out of control in 2018 and beyond: Alaska, Minnesota and Oregon.

For months now, I've been trying to get people to understand that when it comes to sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, especially in terms of individual market premium increases, you have to include the impact of actions taken by Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans in BOTH 2017 and 2018, not just 2018 alone.

In 2017, the single largest factor in the ~28% average national unsubsidized premium increase for ACA plans was Donald Trump's cutting off of Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) reimbursement payments to carriers. This alone accounted for fully half of the 2018 increase. However, there were other, smaller actions taken which added up to another 3% or so: Slashing the Open Enrollment Period in half, CMS slashing the marketing budget for the federal exchange down 90%, slashing the outreach/navigator budget down 40% and so on.

This just in from the Connecticut Insurance Dept...

The Connecticut Insurance Department is reviewing 14 health insurance rate filings for the 2019 individual and small group markets. The filings were made by 10 health insurers for plans that currently cover about 293,000 people.

Two carriers – Anthem and ConnectiCare Benefits Inc. (CBI) – have filed rates for both individual and small group plans that will be marketed through Access Health CT, the state-sponsored health insurance exchange.

The 2019 proposed rate increases for both the individual and small group market are, on average lower, than last year:

This post actually has almost nothing whatsoever to do with the Affordable Care Act itself.

Every year I dig through hundreds (thousands?) of insurance premium rate filings for carriers in every state. For the most part I ignore everything except for my core focus area, the Individual Market, although on occasion I also try to run analysis of the Small Group market filings as well. I don't really pay much attention to the Large Group market filings.

However, there's a bunch of other types of health/medical insurance as well, and one which I've written next to nothing about since I started the ACA Signups project is also one which is becoming increasingly important as the Baby Boomer generation retires: Long-Term Care insurance.

To illustrate my point, here are a few recent premium rate increase filings from carriers in Connecticut:

Long-Term Care Rate Filing - Connecticut Life & Health Guaranty Association (Individual)

Rate request: 69 percent increase
Decision: Approved January 9, 2018

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