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Covered CA October Enrollment Statistics Released

Covered CA and the state Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced today that 200,000 applications were started since the launch of the website on October 1.  Almost 100,000 of those applications were completed, covering over 170,000 individuals. An additional 72,000 applicants were found to be eligible for the Medi-Cal program; this is a count of only individuals who entered through Covered California and excludes applicants for current coverage through county human services agencies.  Not included are the 625,000 enrollees in low income health programs across the state; these individuals will be eligible for Medi-Cal expansion and will be automatically enrolled in January 2014.

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Interestingly, out of 30,830 individuals enrolled in health coverage through Covered CA, only 4,852 were eligible for federal premium assistance and cost-sharing reductions.  Since in-person assistance programs were not fully operational on launch day and the bulk of certification is expected to be completed in November, this figure is expected to increase significantly with continued outreach and education efforts.

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The website and service centers continued to receive consumer interest, with almost half a million unique visits to the website in one week alone.  Service centers received about 65,000 calls in the first week of November, with an average wait time of 12 minutes and handling time of 16 minutes.

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Nationally, about 850,000 applications were completed through all exchanges, and 106,185 individuals selected an exchange plan. Among states implementing their own marketplace (SBM), almost 80,000 individuals have already selected a marketplace plan; these states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. California alone was responsible for a third of all individuals who chose a plan.

Washington and Kentucky also reported notable enrollment figures. Washington state’s exchange had 64,990 completed applications and 7,091 individuals having selected a plan. Over 50,000 applications were started through Kentucky’s state-based exchange, with 5,586 individuals having selected a plan.  Kentucky also reported high rates of enrollment by young adults under 35 years old (40%) and women (59%).

Enrollment overall may seem lower than anticipated, but there are some factors to consider:

  • Health insurance is a foreign concept to many, and these individuals/families will have to familiarize themselves with the application process, as well as products available for purchase
  • Some marketplace websites experienced exceptionally well-documented technical difficulties
  • Congressional shenanigans (ad nauseam)
  • The full outreach, education and marketing push has yet to begin
  • Coverage won’t begin for over a month
  • Procrastination plagues us all

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