States race to convert approvals

(AP photo/Jon Elswick) (AP photo/Jon Elswick)

The latest U.S. Department of Health and Human Services public exchange activity report shows some exchanges have been much faster than others at getting people to sign up.

Consumers in some states still have time to pay for coverage that starts in January, and HHS is still using private “qualified health plan” selections, rather than pay data, as the enrollment indicator.

HHS plan selection figures show that consumers had submitted coverage applications for 7.7 million people through all Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchanges in all states by Dec. 28.

The states found that 1.6 million of the applicants were eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan program, and 5.1 million were found to be eligible to enroll in a QHP. 

Throughout the country, only 40 percent of the consumers found eligible for QHPs had actually chosen plans.

At the state-based exchanges, 53 percent of the 1.8 million qualified applicants – 956,991 – had picked their plans.

At the federal exchanges run by HHS, 36 percent of the 3.3 million qualified applicants picked plans.

The leaders in getting qualified applicants through the plan selection pipeline have been two states with a reputation for enrollment website problems – Massachusetts and Maryland.

Massachusetts has gotten only 5,943 of its 37,361 applicants through the QHP eligibility determination process, but 91 percent of the applicants found eligible for QHPs have signed up for plans.

Maryland has gotten 79 percent of 23,097 eligible applicants into plans, and California, a state with a reputation for having a relatively functional exchange site and big broker and nonprofit exchange helper programs, has pumped 72 percent of 697,188 eligible applicants into plans.

Kentucky won praise for having a working website and bringing in a large number of applicants early on, but its exchange has had the hardest time getting qualified applicants into plans. It ranked last in terms of closing sales. Only 21 percent, or 33,036, of its 158,870 eligible QHP applicants had actually signed up for plans by Dec. 28.

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