A little over a month after open enrollment for 2016 ended, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its final state level tabulations showing that just over 239,000 people in Wisconsin have chosen a health plan through the federally-facilitated insurance exchange. About 100,000 more people selected a plan for 2016 as compared to the first open enrollment period for 2014 when HHS identified about 140,000 people had selected coverage through plans offered in the exchange.
Hospitals throughout the state continued working this year to help patients enroll or re-enroll in coverage, with staff on hand to offer assistance in signing up through the healthcare.gov portal. Hospitals also worked with other community members to conduct outreach and education about the importance of having coverage and how to enroll.
Nationwide, 83 percent of all enrollees are eligible for financial assistance. In Wisconsin, 84 percent of enrollees are eligible for financial assistance, compared to about 90 percent in 2015. The average tax credit received in 2016 is $330 per month.
About 70 percent of enrollees in Wisconsin chose the silver level plan, while 23 percent chose the bronze plan. Nationwide, 71 percent chose the silver plan and 21 percent chose the bronze plan. The bronze plan typically has a lower premium, but higher cost sharing in the forms of deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.
Another statistic of interest is the number of enrollees who are new consumers compared to those who have returned to the exchange and had enrolled in coverage last year. In Wisconsin 148,600 people re-enrolled in coverage and of those, nearly 58,000 enrollees switched health plans. This means they did not select the same plan in 2016 as they had in 2015, nor did they select a similar plan offered by the same issuer as their 2015 plan. According to the HHS data, those who switched plans are saving an average of $54 per month on their premiums, or $653 per year.
It is important to note that the number of people who have enrolled in a plan may be quite different than the number who “effectuate enrollment” or in the end pay their premiums and maintain their coverage. In 2015, for example, HHS reported about 206,000 people had originally enrolled in coverage, and a later report in September 2015 showed about 175,000 had maintained that coverage. HHS’s report on effectuated enrollment for 2016 is not yet available and will be published separately. In addition, in past years HHS has provided data at the zip code level. This data has also not yet been released. WHA will report on this information when it becomes available.
To view the latest reports, go to: https://aspe.hhs.gov/health-insurance-marketplaces-2016-open-enrollment-period-final-enrollment-report