Exchange Applications Hit Million Mark

by David Gorn

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Covered California signed up roughly 400,000 people for health insurance through Dec. 22, according to a preliminary estimate of enrollment numbers by Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California.

The exchange topped the million mark for enrollment applications in the first three months of open enrollment with an official total of 1,064,872 applications through Dec. 28.

The official release of complete December enrollment data is expected in mid-January.

The number of applications has climbed steadily since the exchange opened enrollment on Oct. 1. The number of people who actually enrolled for coverage increased rapidly as the Dec. 23 deadline neared. Californians seeking insurance coverage through the exchange had to sign up by Dec. 23 for coverage to start Jan. 1.

The exchange's six-month open enrollment period ends Mar. 31.

According to exchange officials, 30,919 Californians signed up for coverage in October and November had more than twice that number, with 78,377 sign-ups. The first three weeks of December far outpaced the first two months, with a rough estimate of almost 300,000 Californians enrolling through Dec. 22.

Enrollees have until Jan. 6 to pay their first premiums.
In the fourth week of December, the number of Californians visiting the Covered California website hit 836,885 and another 73,558 people contacted the exchange call centers in that single week, according to exchange officials.

S Sams
I believe the CBO estimated around 30% of the projected first year private enrollments would be from folks transitioning to new coverage. In addition, it's likely that many previously insured folks have enrolled in ACA plans directly with insurers - so this number (which could be a big one) needs to be considered as well. Most importantly, it's good to remember that a central purpose of the law was to restructure a dysfunctional individual market where many of those most in need were denied coverage. A newly reformed market is now emerging that serves both previously insured and uninsured people. Overall, the CBO estimates that in a few years around 25 million people will be in the exchanges, with a reduction in the number of uninsured by 30 million. So we are just beginning this process.
Steven Krivit
Mr. Gorn-- Covered California is not separating the applications from those people who had health insurance policies and are now "re-applying" because those policies were cancelled from those people who are applying for new health insurance coverage. Two vastly different phenomena. Can we expect objectivity from CHCF reporting? Don't let Covered California get credit for kicking up the dust, then cleaning up the resultant dust, and claiming progress. Covered California should not get "credit" for the applications by those who had health insurance prior to 1/1/2014 and who are now merely reapplying to ensure continuing and uninterrupted health insurance. Steve K.

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