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7 facts about the users of the 'good PPACA exchange'

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Connecticut has won a reputation for having done a good job of setting up its state-based public health insurance exchange.

The Access Health CT exchange had an enrollment system that worked most of the time, and the exchange consistently posted information about its board meetings and its operational performance. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange has succeeded at enrolling about 77,000 people in private “qualified health plans” (QHPs) and about 195,000 people in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Plan coverage.

For the latest board meeting, the exchange posted results from a survey of 1,363 current exchange users conducted from July 17 through September, 2014. The results show what the users are thinking at an exchange that seemed to get the day-to-day details involved with setting up an enrollment website and selling coverage going reasonably smoothly.

Here’s a look at some of the results for the QHP users in the sample:

  1. In Connecticut — a relatively high-income state with high insured rates — 57 percent of the QHP buyers had some kind of health coverage before they signed up for QHPs.
  2. 74 percent of the Connecticut QHP buyers have used their coverage at least once.
  3. 45 percent of the QHP users enrolled on their own online; 18 percent got in through the call center; and 15 percent used an insurance broker. Using a broker was the third most popular enrollment channel. For QHP buyers, going to an enrollment center ranked fourth, with 9 percent of the QHP buyers saying they came in through the brick-and-mortar route.
  4. 20 percent of the QHP buyers said they learned about the exchange through a broker. Brokers ranked on par with newspaper ads and signs in pharmacies, but far behind the enrollment website, television ads, TV news, radio ads, radio news, billboards, print news articles, and Internet ads. Brokers ranked ahead of navigators, health insurance representatives, magazine ads, health care providers and community organizations.
  5. Many QHP enrollees have no idea that they may have to re-enroll to keep their coverage. Only half have heard about that possibility.
  6. Most QHP holders — 91 percent — have heard that they might have to pay a fine if they fail to have a minimum level of health coverage.
  7. Roughly one-third of the consumers who dislike the QHP they picked say the premiums are too high. One-quarter say they are getting too little information from the carrier, or that the information is too confusing.


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