December enrollment:December enrollment was much higher than October or November and shows Americans are successfully connecting to affordable health coverage through the marketplaces.
Advertising and outreach ramping up:Look out for new campaigns from federally facilitated marketplaces (FFMs) and state-based marketplaces (SBMs) in the coming days!
Marketplace Enrollment Update
Official enrollment data: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ report covers October 1 through December 28, 2013 for SBMs and FFMs and includes information about completed applications, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility determinations, successful selection of a marketplace plan, and receipt of financial assistance for marketplace enrollees. For the first time, the report also includes a demographic breakdown of enrollees who selected a marketplace plan.
Toplines:4.3 million Americans applied for coverage, nearly 2.2 million individuals have selected a plan, and 1.6 million were found eligible for Medicaid or CHIP through the marketplaces in the first half of open enrollment (this does not include individuals that have been determined eligible through their state Medicaid agency).
Encouraging enrollment trajectory: 1.8 million consumers selected a plan in December, which is five times as many as selected a plan in October and November combined (360,000). The trend was stronger in FFMs (which saw a seven-fold increase), particularly among 18-34-year-olds (an eight-fold increase).
Financial assistance: Overall nearly four of five (79 percent) consumers who enrolled in marketplace plans have gotten financial assistance.
Plan type: More than half (60 percent) of consumers selected silver plans, which increases the likelihood that they will receive cost-sharing reductions if eligible, and may indicate that individuals are seeking more comprehensive coverage.
Age: Of those who selected marketplaces plans, 30 percent were under 35, 37 percent were 35-54, and 33 percent were 55-64.
Gender: 54 percent female and 46 percent male.
Consumer Experiences in the Field
Consumer issues: Enroll America’s field staff reports that the most common problems consumers had this past week were incorrect eligibility determinations and issues finding helpful in-person assistance. Our Find Help tool is being used in the field to help connect consumers to assisters in their community.
Language access for Spanish speakers: While enrollment on CuidadoDeSalud.gov, the Spanish language website for FFMs, is now functional, it has many but not all of the equivalent resources as its English counterpart. We have also heard reports of the federal call center capacity for Spanish-language help being limited at times. To mitigate these challenges, we are encouraging Spanish-speaking consumers to go to in-person assisters, which are the preferred method of enrollment for the Latino community.
Ensuring coverage for consumers in SBM states: There are a few SBMs (Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Oregon) that are still working to get their websites to work properly and are currently working to ensure the people in their states have access to coverage. For example, Oregon is still making eligibility determinations manually, and Maryland is looking into retroactive coverage for individuals having trouble enrolling.