Access Health sees dip in enrollment
Officials praise retention efforts in spite of attacks on ACA
Fewer residents signed up for coverage through Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange, during the enrollment period that ended in January than during the previous year, officials said Thursday.
The exchange reported 107,833 people had elected health plans for 2020. That’s a 3 percent drop from the 111,066 enrollees recorded last year.
Enrollment opened on Nov. 1 and closed on Jan. 15.
Access Health board members said Thursday that despite the dip, they were happy with the numbers given the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act. The fate of the 10-year-old federal health law may be decided by the Supreme Court. It has scheduled a private conference on the issue for Friday to consider whether to hear the case.
The suit in question was brought by Republican-led states and the Trump administration and seeks to strike the entire law, including its provision protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Of the total number of Connecticut enrollees this year, 82,553, or about 77 percent, had signed up for coverage in 2019 and chose to renew their policies.
A majority of enrollees – 77 percent – selected a plan through ConnectiCare Benefits Inc. The other 23 percent elected coverage with Anthem Health Plans.
Robert Blundo, director of technical operations and analytics for Access Health, said more people appear to be signing up for insurance through their employer. Others are choosing Medicare or Medicaid coverage – known as HUSKY in Connecticut – and some have left the state.
Affordability also remains an issue, Blundo said. In a survey of more than 12,000 former customers, the exchange found that about 16 percent reported going without insurance. Cost was a main driver of that.
Access Health launched a campaign last fall to try to reach the nearly 187,000 Connecticut residents who still are uninsured.
Using tools that analyze census tracts, workers identified neighborhoods within cities where a majority of the uninsured people live. In October, they began canvassing homes in those areas – knocking on doors to chat with people about the range of health plans, state subsidies and other available services.
Nearly 30,000 homes in Hartford, Bridgeport, Norwalk and Fairfield were visited. Exchange workers spoke to thousands of people about coverage, and signed up more than 300 new customers through the campaign. Hundreds more renewed their plans with Access Health after the home visits, officials said.
Access Health will turn its attention to new efforts in the coming months, including programs focused on health disparities. That might include partnering with nonprofit groups, hospitals and other entities to address gaps in coverage and social determinants of health, such as a lack of food, transportation or housing.
“Over a million people that we serve have different challenges,” said Andrea Ravitz, director of marketing for the exchange. “So we’re looking at some initiatives to understand a little bit better the type of challenges they have, and where our role is in connecting them to the services they might be able to get.”
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