Friday, September 19, 2014

N.C. Obamacare numbers remain elusive

Participation in the health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act has dropped by about 700,000 people,  from 8 million when enrollment closed March 31 to 7.3 million as of Aug. 15, the nation's top Medicare/Medicaid administrator said Thursday.

That partially answers questions many have posed this summer about developments on the insurance exchange,  which includes subsidies for low- and moderate-income people buying individual policies.

Medicare/Medicaid administrator Marilyn Tavenner (AP photo)

It still doesn't offer details on how many have failed to pay premiums,  how many have left the marketplace for other reasons  and how many have been added during special enrollment.  Nor have the state tallies posted in May been updated.

Update: The feds did post a zip code map of enrollments as of April 19; read a report from John Murawski of the News & Observer here.

North Carolina had the nation's fifth-highest enrollment after open enrollment,  with 357,584 enrollments as of March 31.  If the state's numbers reflect the 8.75 percent drop the nation has seen,  we'd have lost about 31,300.

As the Department of Health and Human Services notes,  enrollment changes on a daily basis.  People may sign up,  then lose coverage if they fail to pay premiums.  They move from one state to another.  They gain or lose jobs and go through family changes that affect their health insurance.

Earlier this week,  DHHS announced that 115,000 people nationwide will lose their coverage because they failed to provide immigration documents required to verify their citizenship or immigration status.  The department initially flagged 966,000 people whose applications didn't match data on file.  In July,  after repeated attempts to reach those people,  they sent warning letters to 310,000 saying they'd lose coverage if they didn't verify their status by Sept. 5.  That included 12,300 in North Carolina.

The update on people who will lose coverage because of immigration status didn't include state breakdowns;  a DHHS official said that would come later.

In a conference call with reporters,  Andy Slavitt of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proudly noted that the overwhelming majority the immigration cases that were initially flagged had been resolved.  But he didn't have answers when a reporter asked whether "resolved" included people who kept their coverage and people who lost it,  and if so,  what the mix was.


Anonymous said...

Is it any wonder why these figures continue to be 'elusive'? When over 83% of enrollees in the ACA are receiving subsidies....when the CBO has released a study that says the ACA will hurt businesses, decrease full-time employment and limit access to physicians....and then released a study last week that the ACA will cost 8 TIMES it's current costs to maintain over the next 10 years...when people who were happy with their current insurance are being forced into the Exchange....

Come on Observer -- it's about time you started printing the more critical articles of the pitfalls the ACA has provided the American Public instead of continuing to carry water for a failed ideology annointed by your favorite political party.