With Open Enrollment Over, Exchanges Meet Expectations But Not Hopes
Open enrollment in the health care exchanges officially ended on January 31st, and as the final federal and state statistics start filtering out you can see a few changes in the pattern set by the previous two years.
As people have become accustomed to the new way that health insurance works, more exchange customers have begun shopping early enough to have their coverage start on January 1st, and as such there wasn’t a last-minute rush the way there was in 2015 and 2014. But while this means customers are more on top of things than they had been before, it also means that the people who run the exchanges can’t expect any more big surges to bolster their numbers.
At the same time, more people are also starting to use the exchanges to continue to shop for insurance rather than rely on an auto-renewal. Visiting the exchange allows insurance customers to see what may change about their policy going into the next year, and it gives them the chance to pick something that may turn out to suit them better because of changing needs, changing budgets, or even the realization that they were paying for more insurance than they needed.
Last year over half of all exchange customers let the auto-renew take care of things, but this year around 60 percent of customers went shopping first.
While it’s good that more people are acting intelligently when it comes to their health insurance, the rush to buy insurance is now slowing down, at least according to the federal healthcare.gov website. The total pool of marketplace policyholders has risen by only 1 million, and while that’s on par with projections by the Department of Health and Human Services staff, it falls far below the initial congressional estimates which were expecting double the overall number of policyholders by this point.
Another source of disappointment has been the continued shortage of younger enrollees. The total number of young adults between 18 and 34 in the federal exchange is sitting at 28 percent, and while that’s close to the 35 percent or so which projections indicated the exchanges would need to work out financially, that 35 percent is a minimum and not a recommended number.
Fortunately, both those with health insurance and those without can benefit from the USARx pharmacy discount card. Our card is free for anyone to use, and it can provide discounts of up to 75 percent off of prescription medications both brand name and generic, and sometimes it can even beat the discounts provided by an insurance policy. You can find out more if you call our toll-free number at 888-277-3911 or email us at [email protected]