Managers of the Affordable Care Act public exchange system are hoping their plans will peel more than 1 million consumers away from off-exchange major medical plans.
Analysts at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are predicting that the public exchange system will attract about 1 million to 1.2 million new 2017 enrollees who now have individual major medical coverage purchased outside the ACA exchange system.
The HHS analysts included the off-exchange policy replacement forecast in a set of ACA exchange enrollment projections for 2017.
The open enrollment period for 2017 is set to run from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31. HHS analysts are estimating the exchange system will get exchange plan selection information from 13.8 million people by the end of the open enrollment period.
The analysts are predicting that 9.2 million of the plan selectors will be existing enrollees that the exchange system retains, 3.5 million will be previously uninsured people, and 1.1 million will be people who had off-exchange individual coverage this year. Earlier, analysts at the same HHS office noted in a separate commentary that many people with off-exchange individual coverage could qualify for ACA exchange plan premium tax credits.
Health insurers and managed care companies covered about 7.5 million people through individual off-exchange policies in 2015, according to Portland, Maine-based Mark Farrah Associates.
The firm estimated ACA exchange plans covered about 13 million people in 2015.
If the HHS forecasters are correct about 2017 exchange plan sales, and insurers are now covering about 7.5 million people through off-exchange policies, then the ACA exchange plans could capture about 23 percent of the people with off-exchange individual coverage.
ACA exchange plan managers have focused mainly on helping consumers find the cheapest plans. (Image: Thinkstock)