Report: State Exchange Enrollments Mostly Medicaid, Not Private Insurance Plans

Report: State Exchange Enrollments Mostly Medicaid, Not Private Insurance Plans

Defenders of President Obama’s signature health reform legislation claim the states that put effort into establishing their own exchanges, mostly Democrat-led, are signing people up successfully for ObamaCare. A new report, however, indicates that most of the individuals signing up in these state-run exchanges are enrolling into Medicaid.

Rachana Dixit at InsideHealthPolicy wrote Tuesday that enrollment into Medicaid in many of the state-run exchanges is “significantly outpacing the number of people that so far have enrolled into qualified health plans.” Medicaid enrollment numbers, Dixit observed, have reached tens of thousands in states such as Maryland, Washington, and Oregon.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had projected that seven million people would enroll in the ObamaCare exchanges in 2014 while eight million would enroll in Medicaid. If Health and Human Services (HHS) hopes to get seven million enrolled by the end of March, about a third of them need to be healthy, young enrollees who will foot the bill for the higher risk patients who will need more health care services.

Dixit wrote that, in light of the significant problems the ObamaCare rollout has experienced, consultants tracking the exchanges are now wondering whether enough young and healthy enrollees will actually sign up to make ObamaCare work.

For example, Maryland’s state-run exchange – Maryland Health Connection – states 82,473 residents as of September had enrolled in Medicaid for coverage beginning January 1st, yet, between October 1st and 17th, there were 2,393 enrollments into the qualified health insurance plans.

Similarly, in the state of Washington, as of October 21st, 4,529 enrollments had been completed into the health insurance plans, while 19,658 enrolled as newly eligible for Medicaid coverage.

Minnesota’s exchange reported 406 individuals with completed applications for the qualified health plans, but nearly 2,500 have enrolled in Medicaid.

In Connecticut, as of October 11th, Access Health CT reported 1,443 applications for private health insurance plans and 1,544 for Medicaid.

The Oregon Health Plan enrolled 56,000 people into the state’s Medicaid program, but these sign-ups did not take place through the state’s exchange. Cover Oregon itself will not launch until October 25th.

Dixit noted that in order for a person to be officially enrolled into a plan, they must pay their first premium. Consequently, administration officials say they expect enrollment to increase as January 1st gets closer.

An industry source reportedly informed Dixit that while insurance carriers are receiving enrollment transactions daily, many of them contain errors.