Early numbers for 2015 health insurance enrollment are starting to filter in.
It’s hard to know whether the numbers are actually good, bad or indifferent, but there are numbers.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system, for example, is reporting much higher application totals now than it was at this time a year ago, but it has a shorter open enrollment period this time around, and its qualified health plan (QHP) issuers have to try to hang on to existing business as well as attract new enrollees.
The state-based exchanges may be getting a different mix of business because they work better, or because the nature of the people who still need to get covered has changed.
The policymakers who created PPACA World hoped to increase the level of competition between health insurers in the traditional insurance market as well as in the public exchange system, but the buyers might have different ideas.
For a look at some of the first pixels, read on.
1. About half of the HealthCare.gov plan selection volume is coming from consumers renewing exchange plan coverage that’s already in force.
The public exchange individual QHP open enrollment period started Nov. 15 and is set to end Feb. 15. The deadline for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2015, is Dec. 15.
Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) say the HHS-run exchanges received coverage applications for 1.6 million people and QHP selection information for 765,135 people as of Nov. 28.
One question is how well the QHPs at the HHS-run and state-based exchanges will retain the 6.7 million 2014 coverage enrollees they had this summer.
So far, HHS officials say, about half of the HealthCare.gov business is coming from consumers who have exchange QHP coverage and want to continue the coverage.
If business volume stays at current levels, the public exchange system could end up with about 10 million enrollees, including about 5 million returning enrollees and 5 million new enrollees.