Well, the over-under was 7 million, with President Obama taking the over and pretty much everyone else taking the under, but that original number has long been forgotten – somehow, somewhere along the way, most news stories began referring to the “enrollment target of 6 million.” Still, the prediction remained the same – that the administration would fall short of its goal.
But now, with just two weeks to go before the end of the initial enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, things are getting interesting. Yesterday, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced in a blog post that, thanks to “a weekend wave of consumers signing up for new coverage,” enrollment through the federal and state-based marketplaces has now hit 5 million.
That in itself is a big accomplishment for an enrollment season that got off to such a rocky start. With only 6 people enrolling through the Healthcare.gov site on day 1, they were on pace to hit just 1,080 over the entire six-month period. Thankfully, they’ve picked up the pace a bit. Of course, what we should really say is that YOU’VE picked up the pace.
We all know that brokers are driving much of the enrollment in the individual market, much of it through private exchange websites. The difference, though, is that private exchanges allow individuals and families to sign up for coverage inside or outside the marketplace, which gives those who don’t qualify for a premium tax credit a lot more options.
Plus, all of these enrollments count. While the media continues to focus on marketplace enrollment, the fact is that plans sold in or out of the marketplace are all part of the same risk pool for participating carriers, so these sales are just as important in spreading the risk for insurance carriers.
One other thing that most news outlets fail to mention is that, while March 31st is the official end of this year’s open enrollment season, there are a number of situations that can create a special enrollment period for an individual, including the loss of group coverage if a company decides to drop its health plan, which a lot of employers are seriously considering.
To help them make that decision, HPA brokers have a new tool available to them called the Insight Catalyst Report (ICR). To learn more about this one-of-a-kind analytical tool or about the private exchange opportunity, please consider attending one of our upcoming webinars.