Managers of state-based Affordable Care Act public exchange programs say that, so far, shopping activity looks strong.
The individual major medical open enrollment period for coverage that takes effect in 2017 started Nov. 1 and is set to run until Jan. 31.
Mila Kofman, executive director of DC Health Link, the exchange for the District of Columbia, said last week at an exchange board meeting that 6,200 consumers used the exchange enrollment website on Nov. 1, up from 2,400 on the first day of the open enrollment period for 2016, according to an audio recording of the meeting.
Managers of Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado’s Denver-based exchange, said their exchange has received enrollment submissions for 14,134 people for the first 13 days of the open enrollment period, up from 9,197 enrollment submissions for the first 13 days of the 2016 open enrollment period.
The higher level of enrollment activity “appears to be a national trend,” exchange managers say in an enrollment period report.
Charles Gaba, the editor of ACAsignups.net, an ACA exchange tracking blog, estimates that a total of 1.6 million people have applied for ACA coverage through state-based exchanges and through HealthCare.gov, the enrollment system the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up to provide ACA exchange enrollment services for states that were unwilling or unable to handle exchange enrollment services.
Any Affordable Care Act policy reforms may not take effect until 2018. (Photo: iStock)
President-elect Donald Trump has promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Republicans, who have promised to block the ACA, also control the House and the Senate.
Republicans have not talked about ACA program shutdown transition plans. Some health policy watchers have said they think the earliest any major changes could take effect would be 2018.
But the new political situation came up several times at the exchange board meetings.
Diane Lewis, the chairwoman of the D.C. exchange, began the board meeting for that exchange by declaring that the exchange has helped cut the D.C. uninsured rate in half since it came to life in 2014.
“Our marketplace is established in District law, and it is financially sustainable, and it is going strong,” Lewis said. “We encourage our customers to compare, shop and enroll in coverage today.”
Marketing managers for Nevada Health Link, a state-based exchange, with headquarters in Carson City, Nevada, that uses the HealthCare.gov enrollment system, said at a board meeting Thursday that they are trying to make it clear in marketing materials that the ACA is still the law of the land, while, at the same time, fighting problems that have led to a drop in the number of insurers participating in Nevada’s individual health insurance market.
Susan Hoog, a self-employed Reno, Nevada, exchange plan user, spoke at the Nevada exchange board meeting to say that she had attended to make sure the exchange was still there.
“I’m grateful to be able to buy coverage through the exchange,” Hoog said. “Keep it up.”
Dr. Florence Jameson, the chair of the Nevada exchange board, thanked Hoog.
“We’re going to continue working hard to make this a better exchange in the next year and continue to think, optimistically, that we’ll be here to serve and get the uninsured rate down as close to zero as we can,” Jameson said.
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