Updated HHS Report: 3.3 million Obamacare exchange enrollees

Yesterday afternoon, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unleashed the most updated Obamacare exchange enrollment numbers. The federal health law’s insurance exchanges offer federally qualified health plans (and in most cases not really affordable) to individual market policyholders.  Obamacare’s exchange enrollment period began on October 1, 2013 and is supposed to end on March 31, 2014.  That deadline could easily change.

According to the Obama administration, 3.3 million individuals went shopping for an Obamacare plan in the individual health insurance market.  Turns out, however, that an upward of 89% of these individuals already had insurance.  They just couldn’t keep their old plans because they did not comply with the law’s standards for health coverage.  Even if they liked them.  Insurers refer to this scenario as “churning”.

So much for seriously reducing the uninsured.

Here’s the enrollment number breakdown for North Carolina:

  • 160,000  individuals have selected a marketplace plan from either BCBS or Coventry Health Care
  • 25% between ages 18-34
  • 30% between ages 55-64
  • 72% have selected a silver plan
  • 90% qualify for a premium assistance subsidy

The Unknowns:

  • The number of individuals who have paid their first month’s premium.  An individual is not considered a true enrollee until their health insurance premium has been paid.
  • The health status of the exchange pool.  Insurers can no longer ask questions concerning an individual’s health status on their policy applications.  They simply will not know the risk they are dealing with until policyholders start submitting claims.  Even though 25% of NC enrollees fall under the “young invincible” category, we don’t know whether they are healthy or sick.
  • 90% NC enrollees do qualify for a premium assistance subsidy that will offset the cost of their health plan.  But how significant is this subsidy?

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