Washington Exchange enrollment news

Open enrollment for health insurance through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange began November 15 and ends February 15; yesterday was the deadline to purchase insurance for coverage beginning January 1. (But there will be “a 60-day special enrollment opportunity for consumers who were unable to meet the deadline because of technical errors associated with the exchange.”)

Unfortunately, unlike last year, the exchange has not made available detailed weekly enrollment reports. On Nov. 18, the Exchange reported only that “More than 2,000 individuals have scheduled their payments for Qualified Health Plans.” On Dec. 11, the Exchange announced 10,082 new enrollments in qualified (private) health plans (QHP) and 45,843 QHP renewals. Additionally, three employees enrolled through Washington Healthplanfinder Business.

The launch of Washington Healthplanfinder Business has also generated a promising level of interest among employers. The marketplace allows employers in Washington with up to 50 employees to compare health plans, decide their contribution level, manage payment and access broker support in one place. The majority of businesses that have completed applications will provide their employees with a range of options in one metal tier of coverage – a benefit that is currently unavailable in the outside market.

Approximately 130,000 customers are currently enrolled in Qualified Health Plans for 2014 coverage. The Exchange expects to gain an additional 85,000 customers in Qualified Health Plans during the second open enrollment period, which ends on Feb. 15, 2015.

The Exchange has released a very detailed report on total enrollees through October 2014. In October 2014, there were 139,700 QHP enrollees, 86 percent of whom received premium subsidies. Additionally, there were 464,547 enrollees in Medicaid who were newly eligible under Medicaid expansion. Eleven employers and 34 employees enrolled through Washington Healthplanfinder Business. The report also includes information on how enrollment changed month to month:

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This open enrollment period hasn’t been without snags, as this Seattle Times article details. Because of some of those problems, the Exchange has withheld payments to Deloitte. Additionally, on Dec. 18, the Exchange “voted to take the state’s online insurance exchange out of the business of managing customer payments and invoices.”

Many board members have expressed frustration with ongoing problems the exchange has had in managing invoices and payments. In numerous cases, consumers have made payments according to procedures but have been told by their insurers that they do not have coverage. The insurers say the payments and other account information had not reached them.

As noted above, the Exchange hopes to have 85,000 new QHP enrollees by the end of open enrollment. It’ll be interesting to see how close to that they are after yesterday’s deadline.

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