2013 Figures: California Dominates in Exchange Enrollment

January 13, 2014

Nearly 500,000 people selected a Covered California plan by December 31. This was, by far, the largest total enrollment of any state, with Florida trailing behind with 158,000 enrollees. The New York Times estimates that California has reached 82% of the target for the halfway point of open enrollment.

A total of 767,000 applications (totaling 1.41 million individuals) for Covered California were completed. About half of applicants were found eligible for insurance through Covered California, 13% were found eligible for Medi-Cal (although this only includes applications that were processed through Covered California and does not include the 630,000 transitioning LIHP members or those who applied through county Department of Social Services offices), and 38% of applicants still had pending, denied, or other applications. Covered California will need to work closely with applicants who need to submit additional documentation to have eligibility determined.

cc jan 1 determinations

Nationally, 4.35 million people have completed applications. This totals 5.14 individuals eligible for the Exchanges (66.6% of applicants), 1.58 million eligible for Medicaid or CHIP (20.5% of applicants), and 1 million applicants pending, denied, or other (13% of applicants). Of those, 2.14 million people, 41.9% of those whose applications were deemed eligible, have selected a plan.

national jan 1 enrollment

Most (85%) individuals enrolled in Covered California received premium assistance. This varied considerably from state to state; Colorado at 51% subsidized, New York and Kentucky at 68%, and North Carolina and Wyoming at 89%.

The distribution of metal levels amongst Covered California enrollees focused heavily on Silver coverage, with a fair share of Bronze enrollment. This was generally consistent with national figures, but Californians expressed less interest in Gold plans.

jan 1 metal

The age range was fairly distributed, and slightly younger than national averages. A quarter of enrollees were between the ages of 18 – 34. This is less than the enrollment target of 40% young people that some say is necessary to create a healthy risk pool that keeps premiums low, however we all know that those young whippersnappers are procrastinators. In all seriousness, during the rollout of state health reform in Massachusetts in 2007, young people started out at just 23% of enrollees and made it up to 34% by the end of the first open enrollment period.

age jan 1

Other fun facts:

  • 53% of Covered California enrollees were female. Mississippi enrollees were 61% female
  • 11% of applications submitted nationally were by paper. Let’s hope this declines down to nothing now that the websites are functional
  • Many states were well on track or even exceeded halfway point enrollment targets, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, North Carolina, Colorado, Wisconsin, Idaho, and Michigan
  • States that have struggled to meet enrollment goals include Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington D.C., and Massachusetts (but that’s another story)
  • Kentucky, while praised for their very functional website, only enrolled 20.8% of those found eligible for Exchange coverage (California enrolled 71.5% of those who applied and were found eligible). That being said, the state enrolled over 100,000 in Medicaid and CHIP
  • 0% of enrollees in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Washington, and South Carolina selected Platinum plans
  • Massachusetts had the highest percentage of young folks ages 18-34, but this isn’t too surprising given its aforementioned history
  • A majority of enrollees in Washington D.C., Hawaii, and Vermont enrolled in unsubsidized coverage, although the requirement for congressional staffers to go into the Exchange could have skewed the statistics (91% unsubsidized!) in the District

Check out the full report issued by HHS, which details enrollment state by state.