This week the reality of the ObamaCare roll-out appeared in a set of news stories that serve as an ironic juxtaposition. Over 500,000 individuals have seen their insurance policies cancelled in just 3 states. In all 50 states, only 476,000 applications have been “filed” in an exchange. (Even though we are still learning the true definition of “filed.”)
First from Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby at Kaiser Health News: Thousands get insurance cancellation notices
Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state. Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people – about half of its individual business in the state. Insurer Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20 percent of its individual market customers, while Independence Blue Cross, the major insurer in Philadelphia, is dropping about 45 percent.
That is far north of half a million lives dropped due to new ObamaCare regulations in just 3 states. That doesn’t even include recent reports in North Carolina of Blue Cross planning to cancel a sizable portion of their plans, or carriers doing the same in Illinois or Nebraska.
Next up is Julie Pace from the AP this past weekend:
Administration officials say more than 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges.
And as Bob Laszewski pointed out on his blog recently:
So, for the Obama administration, and these states, an application apparently means an application to go shopping.
Give me a break.
States Inflating “Enrollment” Numbers
As I have tracked enrollment by states, many are reporting out both Medicaid and exchange enrollment at the same time.
Therefore the 476,000 number is misleading. My best guess is that for the 17 states that have reported out some data, the number is closer to 193,818 applications (once you pull out the Medicaid applications that have been reported on). Of course, this number is also still too high as it is compromised by the jointly reported data.
What becomes clear, is that the federal exchanges in 34 states are accounting for a single digit percentage of the accounts being filed.
Many More Medicaid Enrollments Than Private Insurance
In Connecticut, “Of the 3,847 individuals who signed up for coverage, 1,857 qualified for Medicaid, 1,897 signed up for plans with one of the three private insurance carriers, and 93 qualified for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.”
In Washington state, of the 40,400 applications submitted, only 4,529 ended up being for private coverage, which translates into coverage for 16,699 lives.
In Oregon, they have signed up 56,000 new Medicaid enrollees,
A significant portion of the Medicaid enrollees are for those that were currently eligible, but not previously enrolled. (All 56,000 in Oregon, in fact.) As a result, this population is not eligible to receive the higher ACA federal reimbursement rate, and state taxpayers will be paying more for their coverage. A point I have yet to see reported by the media since October 1 open enrollment began.
Questions Remain Over How You Define Household
Washington state coverage of the state-based exchange also provides this interesting tidbit: “Most people who have completed applications – … – are members of households in which at least one member is enrolling in a private health plan while at least one other member qualifies for Medicaid coverage.” This should open some interesting discussions of how household income is being calculated.
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Cross-posted at Forbes.com.