- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Washington-based consultancy has compared new Obamacare data to projected enrollment in each state, a handy tool that shows states such as Idaho, Montana and North Carolina doing quite well even though they’ve flown under the radar and relied on the federal government to run their new insurance marketplace.

Avalere took state-by-state data released Wednesday by the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) and applied it to their in-house projections and a government estimate that 6 million people would enroll in private health plans under President Obama’s overhaul between Oct. 1 and March 31.

It displayed each state’s progress as a percentage on a color-coded map, revealing a patchwork of winners and losers across America with a month and a half left to go in the health care law’s inaugural enrollment period.

HHS said 3.3 million Americans have enrolled on the state-based markets, or “exchanges,” since October, with about 1.1 million signing up in January alone. The exchanges allow people to compare plans and sometimes qualify for government subsidies to help them pay their premiums, although a botched web rollout on the federal portal, HealthCare.gov, prevented many people from enrolling in the fall.

“The latest data shows that exchange enrollment continues to rebound following early technological problems, although progress is uneven across states,” said Caroline Pearson, a vice president at Avalere. “The question remains if the final enrollment surge at the end of March will make up the ground lost in October and November.”

Idaho has enrolled 98 percent of its projected pool, while Montana and North Carolina each enrolled more than 80 percent with a month and a half left in the six-month enrollment period.

Among states that ran their own exchanges, California has exceeded Avalere projections at 118 percent, while New York — frequently described as a success story for its sheer volume of sign-ups — has enrolled just 241,200 out of 616,000 consumers, leaving them at 39 percent of expected enrollment.

Washington’s state-run exchange is faring well at 94 percent, Kentucky’s highly touted exchange chalked up 77 percent. Vermont, too, has brought 77 percent on its state-run exchange.

Several states that embraced the Affordable Care Act and set up their own exchanges put up relatively poor numbers.

Maryland came in at 38 percent of expected enrollment, Minnesota had 40 percent and Massachusetts came in at just 17 percent. The District of Columbia brought in 22 percent.

Oregon rose above criticism of its exchange, to an extent, by bringing in 52 percent of expected enrollment even as it relies on paper applications instead of its website.

Florida, a state that is relying on HealthCare.gov, looked good under Avalere’s metric, at 74 percent.

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