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High earners cool to Connecticut PPACA exchange plans

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The state-based exchange in Connecticut is having trouble competing for the business of the relatively high-income consumers who are not eligible for premium subsidy tax credits.

Managers of Access Health CT included data on the high earner sales gap in their latest board meeting presentation

The exchange enrolled 84,749 people in Medicaid between Nov. 15, when open enrollment for 2015 exchange qualified health plan (QHP) coverage began, and the close of business on Jan. 9.

The exchange received QHP selection from 24,287 new exchange users. The exchange has also re-enrolled 65,582 2014 QHP coverage users, bringing total 2015 QHP enrollment to 89,869.

A year earlier, the exchange had received QHP enrollment information for only 43,000 people.

About 77 percent of current QHP users qualify for Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) tax credits, which are available to people with incomes ranging from 133 percent to 400 percent of the Federal poverty level (FPL).

The number of subsidy-eligible QHP users has increased by about 10,000 in the past month and is about 10,000 higher than it was from March 2014 through the start of the open enrollment period.

The exchange did not give exact numbers, but a chart shows that QHP enrollment of non-subsidy-eligible consumers increased by only about 2,000, and that current non-subsidy-eligible QHP enrollment is about the same as it was at the end of the 2014 open enrollment period.

The percentage of QHP users who are not getting subsidies has fallen to 23 percent, from 31 percent in January 2014.

Elsewhere in the board meeting presentation, exchange managers report that most QHP users buy plans that offer silver-level benefits, or richer benefits, but that the new enrollees are more likely to buy cheaper, skimpier plans.

Only 17 percent of the returning enrollees have bronze coverage, and just 1.1 percent have bare-bones, catastrophic-level plans.

About 28 percent of the new enrollees have bronze coverage, and 2.5 percent have catastrophic coverage.

See also: Word & Brown alum to run PPACA exchange system.