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More PPACA exchange users get premium subsidies

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says at least 4 million people are set to have exchange plan coverage in place Jan. 1, 2015.

At the 37 HHS-run exchange, about 87 percent have qualified for Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) premium subsidy tax credits. In 2014, only about 80 percent of all enrollees have qualified for tax credits.

The percentage of early enrollees qualifying for tax credits ranges from less than 80 percent in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania, to more than 90 percent in Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina.

The second annual open enrollment period started Nov. 15 and is set to end Feb. 15. Consumers in most states had to choose plans by Dec. 15 to have coverage in place by the beginning of January.

About 3.4 million of those people will have qualified health plan (QHP) coverage purchased from one of the HHS exchanges, and at least 633,000 will have QHP coverage purchased from one of the state-based exchanges.

The PPACA exchanges appear to have taken in some kind of QHP selection information for 7.1 million. Some of those people may have coverage that will start Jan. 1, but some may have coverage that will start Feb. 1.

HHS says the plan selection figures from the state-based exchanges are incomplete, and hard to compare with the HHS exchange figures. HHS, for example, has reported that about 40 percent of the HHS exchange QHP users who are renewing their coverage actively shopped for coverage through the exchange system.

See also: PPACA exchange plans near 9 million selectors

Some state-based exchanges are not breaking out automatic renewals from active renewals, or have not yet provided renewal data. California, for example, is in the process of renewing coverage for 1.1 million people, and enrollees who take no action will automatically have coverage in place Jan. 1. But the official HHS figures for California show that California had QHP selection information for only 118,770 people by Dec. 15.

The District of Columbia’s DC Health Link exchange covers thousands of members of Congress and congressional aides, but HHS is showing that exchange had official plan selection information for only 2,069 people by Dec. 15.

The only new state-based exchange, in Idaho, had QHP selection information for 73,726 people.

Florida has been the best market for QHP coverage. The HHS-run exchange there had plan selection information for 673,255 people by Dec. 15. Texas ranked second, with 379,525 plan selectors.

Hawaii has the smallest exchange program, with only 1,903 official plan selectors.

See also: View: Why health insurers make people ill


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