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Arkansas exchange enrollment is falling below target

Posted: March 27, 2014 - 7:14pm

LITTLE ROCK — Signups for insurance under the federal health care law are far below the state’s targets, with more than 33,500 people enrolled in the marketplace as the deadline nears, the Arkansas Insurance Department said Thursday.

Department officials told a legislative panel that 33,569 people had signed up for coverage through the exchange, an online marketplace set up under the federal health care law where consumers can shop for policies. The department had expected to sign up as many as 250,000 people.

Insurance officials said problems with the launch of the federal website put them behind on enrollment, but said they have seen signups picking up.

“We’re pleased we’ve got 34,000 now with a really rocky three-month startup. It’s working now and we think we may hit 50,000 before this open enrollment period ends, but that’s a long way from where we need to be for Arkansans,” said Cynthia Crone, who leads the Insurance Department’s Health Benefits Exchange Partnership division.

Monday is the deadline to sign up for the insurance exchanges, but the Obama administration has announced that people who started applying for health insurance before the deadline will be given extra time to complete the process.

The figures don’t include the more than 106,000 people who have enrolled in Arkansas’ “private option” Medicaid expansion, which uses the exchange to select policies. Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. The program was approved as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law, and the Legislature earlier this month reauthorized the program for another year.

State Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford said the department slashed its request for a federal grant for an exchange because of a provision added to the private option law that prohibits the state from using public funds on promotion or outreach for the federal health law. The department is requesting $1.45 million, much less than the $10.8 million it had originally planned to seek.

Crone said the grant request is now limited primarily to money for monitoring plans and responding to inquiries from consumers.

The lawmaker who had proposed the restriction on promotion and outreach said the reduced request showed the benefits of his idea.

“I do think it’s an early indicator that there is some substance to it and that we’ll continue to see some spending reductions as a result of it,” said Rep. Nate Bell, R-Mena.

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lachowsj
5008
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lachowsj 03/27/14 - 09:25 pm
3
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Many states

Despite the terrible roll-out, many states are exceeding projections. Connecticut and Rhode Island are at double the projections. The next three states are New Hampshire, New York and Maine (according to the Wall Street Journal, http://www.marketwatch.com/story/judging-obamacare-state-by-state-2014-0...) Not sure what inference to draw, though all are in the Northeast. But the next highest states are Idaho, a very red state in the West, and North
Carolina and Florida, red states in the South. It seems to depend on how well the exchange worked and how much positive publicity it got. I'm sure Arkansas was not helped by all of the negative talk.

crypted quill
10851
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crypted quill 03/28/14 - 07:17 am
2
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DANG LIBERAL MEDIA! "This

DANG LIBERAL MEDIA!

"This does not include enrollment into the private option, which has had more than 200,000 applications, with around 150,000 being deemed eligible and gaining coverage, as we reported yesterday.

Quick crash course to understand the difference: while private option beneficiaries select private plans available on the Marketplace, there are two different groups using two different enrollment processes:

1) People who make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $16,000 for an individual or $33,000 for a family of four) are eligible for the private option. The premiums for their plans are fully paid for by federal Medicaid funds.

2) People who make more than 138 percent and who are shopping for individual non-group plans (these are folks that don't get coverage through their work or through a public program like Medicare) can purchase plans on the Marketplace. If people in this group make less than 400 percent FPL (around $47,000 for an individual, $95,000 for a family of four) they qualify for subsidies via the ACA to help them cover the cost of insurance.

Got all that?"

http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/03/27/around-33500-ha...

InsGuru
4909
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InsGuru 03/28/14 - 08:18 am
3
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I think I saw a pig fly

because CQ, for once, said something that wasn't compeltely giberish and contributed to the discussion!

"DANG LIBERAL MEDIA!"

Exactly, trying to distract us from how well the private option is doing in this red state! In all seriousness though, what do they expect, private option is a better alternative and there just aren't that many people in group 2.

mikeng1994
10324
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mikeng1994 03/28/14 - 08:47 am
2
2
Aagain with the Liberal attacks

Qualify your insinuation that the media is reporting low numbers on the exchange sign up. I read it as they were reporting numbers given to them by the department running the show. Not to mention the article was not about the private option.

Quit twisting sh&% around Quill, it makes you look like one of the uneducated Harry Reid was referring to on why people can get signed up.

crypted quill
10851
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crypted quill 03/28/14 - 09:24 am
3
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Speaking of

Speaking of "uneducated"...

"Given that, you might think that the state would be doing everything it could on the outreach front to ensure that uninsured people knew about their options on the Marketplace. Well...you'd think wrong.

Speaking of those options...most of the people who have signed up have qualified for subsidies available via the ACA, making their plans on the Marketplace cheaper than the list price. A whopping 91 percent of Arkansans selecting plans on the Marketplace have qualified for subsidies, according to federal data (that's through March 1). Nationally, the Kaiser Foundation estimates that 83 percent of Marketplace enrollees have qualified for subsidies, totalling $10 billion. As Kaiser's Larry Levitt points out, states like Arkansas with lower enrollment numbers are leaving money on the table."

http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/03/28/judicial-candid...

mikeng1994
10324
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mikeng1994 03/28/14 - 09:38 am
3
4
Nope

"making their plans on the Marketplace cheaper than the list price."

Just another one of your completely false and uneducated statement. Its not cheaper Quill, and that's how Obama is pulling the wool over your eyes. You see, even you called it a subsidy. While that my sound great to you and the others who get their insurance at a reduced rate, it's not free. Someone is going to pay for the difference. Is it going to be Obama or the f-stick Harry Reid? heck no it's not. It's us the tax payers and those of with jobs paying for it with higher taxes and higher employee contributions towards our insurance plan. Which by the way, we work our butts off to have, instead of the lazy crackheads who are able-bodied but refuse to work because their sugar daddy Barak will take care of their sorry assets.

crypted quill
10851
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crypted quill 03/28/14 - 09:56 am
3
1
"...we work our butts off to

"...we work our butts off to have, instead of the lazy crackheads who are able-bodied but refuse to work because their sugar daddy Barak will take care of their sorry assets."

HaHaHa!!!

Dog-whistle politics from the GOP TeaHater Party...GREAT GREAT GREAT!

Oh well... keep voting against your own self-economic interests, the south will rise again.

mikeng1994
10324
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mikeng1994 03/28/14 - 11:03 am
1
3
I see things mostly as a

I see things mostly as a Republican, and I like tea. In fact I bet most GOP's enjoy a glass every now and then. Nobody hates tea.

Igor Rabinowitz
8431
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Igor Rabinowitz 03/28/14 - 12:38 pm
3
2
So, wait...

People on subsidies are lazy crackheads?

But, but, Mom's on Social Security?

Wait 'til I tell Mom teh Internets says she's a lazy crackhead!

(All this time I thought it made her a Black Panther! Thanks Internets!)

InsGuru
4909
Points
InsGuru 03/28/14 - 02:19 pm
3
3
...

Social Security isn't a subsidy....

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