I was going to write this blog entry about just how interesting the latest off-exchange health insurance price index from eHealth Inc. (Nasdaq:EHTH) is.
The company runs the eHealthInsurance.com private “health insurance exchange” (aka Web-based insurance sales site), and it’s used data for its own sales of nonsubsidized, off-exchange individual and small-group health insurance to come up with an indicator of what might be happening throughout the individual health insurance exchange market.
What eHealth is reporting might bode well for the guaranteed-issue, mostly community-rated system that the drafters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) hoped to create.
What the index graph shows is that the average age of people applying for individual coverage has fallen to about 36 this month, from close to 45 in November.
If those results hold true for the rest of the individual health insurance market, they may mean that the risk pool for the individual commercial “qualified health plans” (QHPs) sold through the PPACA public exchange system is either a mess or a huge mess, but that the demographics for the overall individual market will be fine, or just moderately bad.
Break out the lukewarm diet soda!
Analysts at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation came up with another interesting PPACA performance measure: The percentage of state residents who might be expected to qualify for PPACA QHP tax credit subsidies who have actually gotten the subsidies.
The analysts found, for example, that the apparent subsidy take-up rate seems to range from 13 percent in the District of Columbia to 32 percent or more in Washington state, Connecticut, California, Rhode Island and Vermont.
So, on the one hand: Maybe PPACA World will muddle through. Maybe it will be a failure in some ways, but pretty good in other ways.