…continue to be one.
Here’s North Carolina’s breakdown of Obamacare’s most updated exchange enrollment numbers:
- 160,000 individuals have selected a marketplace plan from either BCBS or Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas
- 25% are ages 18-34
- 30% are ages 55-64
- 72% are silver plans
- 90% qualify for a premium assistance subsidy
When glancing over some of these statistics, it looks like North Carolina’s enrollment process fares much better than other states’. After all, the state currently ranks top five in enrollment numbers. Obamacare stalwarts will say that the law is proving to be a success, since 90% of enrollees qualify for taxpayer subsidies that will make their quality health plans affordable — even “free.”
But if you’re a skeptic of the law, continue to be one. Let’s unravel the spin:
A large reason why North Carolina leads the pack in enrollment is really because legislators rightly rejected Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion. Many individuals who would otherwise have been covered under the law’s Medicaid expansion will instead have access to private health plans offered on the exchange at minimal to no cost. Low-income individuals living above 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL) will be one of the few populations who actually benefit from the law. This population contributes to so many enrollees (90%) qualifying for financial assistance. The national average is 82%.
Obamacare’s taxpayer-funded subsidies are substantial for the near-poor and some of the near-elderly, but they do virtually nothing for most of the young or the middle class. Obamacare’s neglect of these two rather significant groups opens up a huge political vulnerability. A 2017 Project study of Obamacare’s subsidies in the 50 largest American counties shows that a typical 26-year-old man who makes $35,000 would get no Obamacare subsidy whatsoever for the cheapest-priced “bronze” plan. Nor would a 36-year-old woman who is making that same $35,000.
Circling back to the enrollment numbers, McKinsey & Company reports that North Carolina has only met 56% of its target. And this 160,000 number still remains inflated, as an individual is not considered a true enrollee until his health insurance premium has been paid. Insurers now report that 20% of individuals have yet to pay or are waiting for their payment to accurately process, due to the defective healthcare.gov website.