Only a Small Portion of Exchange Enrollees Are Young, Healthy

TOPIC ALERT:

During a webinar this week, Covered California officials told state insurance agents that only a small portion of residents who have signed up for coverage through the exchange are young, healthy individuals, the Orange County Register reports (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 11/5).

Background

The Obama administration seeks to have about seven million individuals across the U.S. enroll in state health insurance exchanges. Officials say that about 2.6 million of them need to be young and healthy individuals to help keep costs down for the overall pool of enrollees.

Nearly one-third of such young individuals live in California, Florida and Texas (California Healthline, 7/25).

Official enrollment numbers for the exchange's first month of open enrollment are expected to be released next week.

Details of Webinar

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, told insurance agents, "When you see the stats next week, it's going to be relatively low enrollment -- but tens of thousands."

Lee added, "The demographics are not going to be the demographics we hope to see in terms of risk mix and age mix after six months."

However, Lee noted that the exchange has not yet fully launched its campaign to enroll young, healthy people.

Details of Campaign

Lee said that the exchange will "be looking to drive home" enrollment from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.

According to Lee, the enrollment campaign will be "tailored in a very big way." It will include advertisements through:

  • Print media and mailings;
  • Radio;
  • Social media; and
  • Television.

In addition, celebrities -- including musicians Lady Gaga and Pitbull -- are expected to take part in the campaign.

Exchange officials also have asked 500 mayors in the state to host "get covered" events on Nov. 16.

New Guidance for Agents

Meanwhile, Covered California said it will permit insurance agents to help consumers fill out paper applications for the exchange even if they are not yet certified as navigators. Officials said the agents can file the paper applications once they receive their certification.

Chris Patton, a spokesperson for the exchange, said, "We are behind the process, and we will do the cleanup on the back end" (Orange County Register, 11/5).

James Roache PharmD
In the zeal to get the ACA and Covered CA some traction, perhaps it would be advisable to keep the HIPAA requirements in mind.

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