Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Open Enrollment v4.0: A Preview

No, I don't really think it takes a crystal ball to predict an abysmal showing for this year's Open Enrollment. For one thing, there are a lot fewer plans available, but they're up to 116% higher, which is nice.

For another, it's likely that fewer agents will be helping folks sign up for on-Exchange (ie subsidized) plans. As FoIB Allison B reports:

"Managers of HealthCare.gov continue to put barriers in front of consumers who want help from agents or brokers with buying, and using, public exchange plan coverage"

These include providing more agent information up-front, as well as requiring consumers to "call the HealthCare.gov call center at the beginning of the open enrollment period." And good luck with that: based on previous experience, those hold times become epic.

But that's not all.

Noted ACA proponent (and yet FoIB) Charles Gaba rues that "there were about 10.5 million people still enrolled in effectuated QHPs via the ACA exchanges. As I noted at the time, this was about 300,000 fewer people than I had assumed would be enrolled at that point."

And it just gets better (for certain values of "better") from there:

"Third-quarter earnings reports from Aetna and UnitedHealth showed that their combined exchange enrollment totals fell by 113,000 to 1.6 million from the end of June through September, a decline of 6.6%."

And why is this significant? Well, because these two carriers "account for nearly one in six exchange enrollees" (that's about 16% of the total market). So if enrollment fell off so dramatically last year, imagine what a bloodbath this year has in store.


[Hat Tip: FoIB Rich W]
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