The public exchange open enrollment period is going much more smoothly this year—and generating less media attention as a result. Still, there was a flurry of articles about the end-of-year enrollment numbers released by HHS last month. By December 26, at least 7.1 million individuals had enrolled in a plan through either the HealthCare.gov enrollment platform or a state-run exchange. The government expects to hit its own goal of 9.1 million by February 15, the end of the enrollment period, though this is less than the 13 million originally projected by the Congressional Budget Office. One surprising finding, discussed in this New York Times article, is that many of those who enrolled last year actively shopped for a plan for 2015, rather than being automatically reenrolled in their same plan. HHS officials said more than 30 percent of federal marketplace customers who re-enrolled for 2015 did so by returning to Healthcare.gov and picking a plan. That’s much higher that what you might expect based on consumer behavior in other health coverage marketplaces, and presumably this will help keep insurance companies on their toes when setting prices. On that front, a new report from the Commonwealth Fund finds that overall, premiums on the public exchange were flat from 2014 to 2015, although average premium cost rose in some states and declined in others. The report includes a chart with results by state. Interestingly, deductibles in exchange plans rose by just one percent on average.
Go to full article: washingtonpost.com