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Federal exchanges saw biggest surge in PPACA enrollment

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Sign-ups in the public exchanges run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) increased 111 percent in the final four to six weeks of the open enrollment period, according to a new analysis.

The state-based exchanges increased enrollment by 60 percent, researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania found.

The “partnership exchanges” — exchanges in which states worked with HHS  – increased enrollment by 89 percent.

Overall, researchers concluded, the final enrollment figures “reveal that the federally facilitated exchanges and some of the troubled state-based ones made up some ground.”

The data found that overall, state-based marketplaces still enrolled a higher percentage of eligible enrollees (32.5 percent) compared to the federally run exchanges (26.3 percent) and the partnership exchanges (26 percent).

Still, there was a lot of state-by-state variation in regards to enrollment. Within the HHS-run exchanges, for example, enrollment rates vary from 11 percent in South Dakota to 39 percent in Florida, according to the report. And enrollment rates in the state-based exchanges vary from 12 percent in Massachusetts to 85 percent in Vermont.

Researchers noted that the biggest surprise in the data was the late, large enrollment surge among HHS-run exchanges, “suggesting that last-minute marketing and outreach efforts, as well as consumer assistance, may have played the largest role in a successful marketplace.”

“With the late surge in enrollees, the marketplaces met their initial goals through extensive outreach and marketing efforts,” said Katherine Hempstead, who leads coverage issues at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “As we gather and analyze more data, we’ll have a better understanding of exactly who is enrolled, who still remains uninsured and what tactics may prove most successful in future enrollment efforts.”

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