Halfway Through Open Enrollment, Numbers Show Promising Trend

By Molly Warren

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its January Enrollment Report. The report covers a range of statistics on applications and enrollments through the federally facilitated marketplaces (FFMs) and state-based marketplaces (SBMs) between October 1 and December 28, 2013. The top-lines are right where HHS estimated two weeks ago. During the first three months of open enrollment:

  • Nearly 2.2 million consumer selected private plans (1.2 million in FFMs and 960,000 in SBMs).
  • 1.6 million consumers were determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through the marketplaces.

The best news is not these cumulative numbers, but the trend: 1.8 million consumers selected a plan in December, which is five times as many who selected a plan in October and November combined (360,000). The upward trend was more obvious in FFMs (which saw a seven-fold increase), particularly among 18-34-year-olds (an eight-fold increase). These numbers align with Massachusetts’ experience with health reform, where most consumers did not enroll until there was a looming deadline.

Trends in Marketplace Plan Selection Oct.-Dec.

For the first time, HHS has also included breakdowns of who is selecting private plans through the health insurance marketplaces. The breakdown includes financial assistance, type of plan selected, age, and gender. There’s lot to dig into, but here are a few interesting tidbits:

  • Nearly four of five (79 percent) consumers with private plans have gotten financial assistance.
  • More than half (60 percent) of consumers selected silver plans, which increases the likelihood that individuals will be eligible for cost-sharing subsidies and may indicate that individuals are seeking more comprehensive coverage, not just the cheapest plan.
  • Thirty percent are under the age of 35, 37 percent are between the ages of 35-54, and 33 percent are between the ages of 55-64.
  • The gender split is 54 percent female and 46 percent male.

Remember, yesterday’s report reflects the midpoint of open enrollment, and there’s still lots of time left to get covered! Check out our cost calculator and in-person assistance locator tools that help consumers get started today.

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