CMS reported last week an estimated 11.4 million Americans gained coverage (selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled) through HealthCare.gov (8.6 million of the total) or one of the 14 state- based marketplaces (another 2.8 million). This easily exceeds the target from HHS of 9.0 million to 9.9 million.
On Friday, CMS announced a special enrollment period for Americans who did not obtain health coverage in 2014 in the states relying on HealthCare.gov and are subject to the individual mandate penalty, an estimated 6 million Americans. Recall the individual mandate penalty, now referred to as a fee or “shared responsibility payment,” is the greater of $95 per adult or 1% of income in 2014 and will increase to the greater of $325 or 2% of income. This special enrollment season will not alter the 2014 penalty but is intended to help Americans avoid the higher fee in 2015. Other states such as Minnesota and Washington are also creating special enrollment opportunities.
Last week, an estimated 800,000 Americans who enrolled through HealthCare.gov received erroneous tax information and were told to delay filing of their tax returns. Corrected data is expected in the first week of March. Recall, consumers received subsidies in the form of tax credits to help pay for health insurance premiums, and these credits are based on projected income for 2014 and the cost of a “benchmark” plan. The government incorrectly reported these “benchmark” premiums. The federal government is not alone as the state of California sent 100,000 state residents incorrect tax forms (inaccurate length of coverage information), which could delay their tax filings or lead to amended income tax returns.
Beneath these numbers lies significant variation in the enrollment experiences in the states using HealthCare.gov. The aggregate national enrollment figures get a lot of attention in Washington and in the media amid the ongoing debate about the healthcare law–but the state numbers can be more revealing.
As the chart below shows, in six states more than half of the potential market signed up, but in seven states less than 30% did. Florida led the way, with 64% of the potential market and 1.6 million people signed up. Iowa was at the bottom of the list, with 20% and 45,000 people signed up. Enrollment also varied a lot within states, with some counties reporting large gains late in the open-enrollment period.
States with Highest % of Eligible Sign ups
States with Lowest % of Eligible Sign ups
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation