Today’s Obamacare Enrollment Figures Quick Analysis

The Obama Administration this afternoon announced that more than 4.2 million people had selected plans sold through health insurance exchanges.  The figure includes data on exchange enrollment from October 1 of last year through March 1.

I’ve posted a comprehensive analysis of exchange and Medicaid enrollment through February 1.  Here are some updates on major trends, as of today’s announcement:

  • Monthly enrollment fell for the second straight month.  HHS today announced that 942,800 selected plans during the month of February, down from 1.15 million in January and 1.79 million in
    December.  HHS expects enrollment to accelerate again this month, given the March 31 end of open season, but enrollment so far this year has lagged December 2013 levels.
  • The age distribution of those who selected a plan did not improve in February.  People aged 18-34 continue to comprise just 25 percent of enrollees, while those 45 and older comprise 53 percent.  This makes it likely that even a surge of young, healthy enrollees in March will not create a favorable risk pool for insurers selling through the exchanges.
  • Most people who completed the enrollment process and were determined eligible to select a plan chose not to.  Of 8.75 million eligible to enroll, just over 4.2 million selected a plan.  That rate is somewhat improved over the figures reported last month.
  • 83 percent of people who have selected a plan are receiving subsidized coverage.  Of the 5.25 million people who completed the application process and were determined qualified for subsidies, 3.47 million selected a plan, a takeup rate of 66 percent.
  • People who don’t qualify for subsidies continued to shun enrollment. Of 3.5 million people who were eligible to enroll in plans but who did not qualify for subsidies, only 690,000 selected a plan, a takeup rate of just under 20 percent.  Even with relatively low premiums, few people appear willing to pay full price for exchange-based coverage.
  • The new data do not estimate how many of the 4.2 million who have so far selected a plan have paid their first month’s premium. Those that have not done so remain uninsured.
  • Nor does the government know how many who selected a plan previously lacked coverage.  A McKinsey survey recently found that only 27 percent of enrollees were previously uninsured and, of those, just 53 percent had paid their first premium.  Applying those proportions to the 4.2 million figure suggests that around 600,000 people are newly insured in plans sold through exchanges.  That figure, of course, is not precise and represents an estimate based on survey data.

5 thoughts on “Today’s Obamacare Enrollment Figures Quick Analysis

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  2. Now that the Individual Mandate has been severely hobbled, most of those who’ve already signed up for insurance on the exchanges and paid their Month 1 premiums must be feeling like total chumps. When the bill for Month 2 comes in, what are the chances they’ll pay it? For many, the prospect of paying all those monthly premiums (and the high deductible to boot) for a type of insurance they don’t need is surely maddening, and also making a severe dent in their projected discretionary spending. Besides, those who know the law will also figure that their coverage can’t be dropped due to non-payment for 90 days. WE NEED TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS ATTRITION, lest the Gov’t continue to claim the new drop-outs as still enrolled.

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