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HHS analysts: Average plan premium rose 8.8 percent

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Federal government analysts have published a big batch of public health insurance exchange plan enrollment data for the 2016 open enrollment period — and, possibly, hints of lingering data tracking problems at some of the state-based exchanges.

See also: CMS: has mailed its 1095-As

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) set up to run the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange programs in the states that were unwilling or unable to run their own PPACA exchange programs.

HHS analysts, at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), show in a 2016 open enrollment report that a total of 9.6 million people selected qualified health plan (QHP) coverage through for 2016, up from 8.8 million who used to select QHP coverage for 2015.

The number of people who chose QHP coverage through state-based PPACA exchange enrollment systems rose to 3.1 million, from 2.9 million.

In the states, the percentage of exchange plan choosers who are using PPACA advance premium tax credits (APTCs) to reduce their share of the premium costs while the coverage year is still underway fell to 87 percent this year, from 85 percent last year.

The average monthly premium rose 8.8 percent, to $396 per month, and the average APTC rose 10 percent, to $290. Because the APTC rose faster than the premium, the average post-APTC monthly premium rose just 5 percent, to $106.

The ASPE report includes indications of possible enrollee tracking problems at some of the state-based exchanges.

At, for example, managers had gender information for all enrollees and were missing age information for just 53 when ASPE pulled the data. That was down from 25 entries with missing gender information and 202 with missing age information for 2015. 

In the states with state-based, state-run enrollment systems, managers were missing gender data for 1,269 enrollees earlier this year, and they were missing age data for 1,137. A year ago, however, the state-based exchange enrollment system states were missing both age and gender data for 3,001 QHP choosers. 

See also:

Watchdog finds $447 million IRS PPACA tax credit math error

Tax preparers return to PPACA fog


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