On its second day of accepting enrollment, Access Health CT, the state’s new health insurance marketplace, received 1,328 calls, 45,000 website visitors, and processed 99 applications.
Wednesday’s activity brings to 373 the number of applications processed for coverage through Access Health, which connects people to both private insurance and Medicaid.
Access Health is the state’s health insurance exchange, created as part of the federal health care reform law. It’s intended for people who buy insurance on their own, small employers and the uninsured. The idea is for people to be able to comparison-shop for insurance offered by private companies. Many of the customers are expected to qualify for federal subsidies to reduce their premium costs.
Although some critics have pointed to the relatively low number of enrollees compared to those who visited the website or called in, Access Health CEO Kevin Counihan said the number was higher than he expected. He and other officials have previously said they thought enrollment would be slow at first because the coverage doesn’t take effect until January and signing up now requires paying premiums early.
Counihan said he suspects that many of the early enrollees across the country are people with pre-existing conditions who want to make sure they get coverage. “I think it shows pent-up demand,” he said.
Going forward, Counihan said he expects activity to slow down after this “initial bump of activity,” then pick up again after Thanksgiving. To get coverage by Jan. 1, people must enroll by Dec. 15. The open enrollment period runs through March 31.
Counihan said the White House said Connecticut had the most stable system of any state. That was nice, he said, but added, “That and two bucks gets you a cup of coffee.”