While the Access Health CT exchange has only been open for eight days, CEO Kevin Counihan said he’s encouraged by some of the early demographic information of the policyholders buying plans.
So far there have been 1,017 policies sold, but there’s no information at the moment to say how many people those plans would cover.
Of the 1,017 policies, 26 percent have chosen gold plans, 49 percent have selected silver, 21 percent have selected bronze and four percent have chosen catastrophic plans only offered to adults under age 30.
“One of the interesting things we’re pleased to see is that from an age distribution perspective 29 percent are below 35,” Counihan said. “We’re all interested in making sure the risk pool is as balanced as it can be. This is a very good start to that.”
In order for the concept of the exchanges to work and drive down costs for older and possibly sicker populations is for young people to participate and pay monthly premiums even though it’s unlikely they will need to use many services.
Unlike the federal exchange being used by more 36 states, Counihan said Connecticut’s website, where residents can compare and purchase plans, is holding up well. There are reports that the problem with healthcare.gov extends beyond capacity issues and may be a problem with the software and the design of the site.
Counihan said Access Health CT decided last year that it would rather do fewer “things consistently well than more things inconsistently.”
That meant they “outsourced every operational function” that they could to “outside firms that could do things, better, faster, cheaper than we could do it on our own,” Counihan told the Health Care Cabinet Tuesday.
He said California hired 850 call center representatives who have become employees of their exchange. He said in California that might be the right thing to do, but in Connecticut “we thought it was better off to outsource that.”
Connecticut’s call center operations are being handled by Maximus Health Services, but it’s unclear exactly how much the state is paying the company for its services, according to this report by Jeffrey Cohen of WNPR.
Meanwhile, Counihan said the state has had fewer problems communicating with the federal data hub because it’s pinging the site every 10 minutes during the application process, instead of waiting to send all the information at once.
He added that the first storefront will be opening in New Britain next week for people who want to sign up in person. Counihan said he expects the most activity on enrollment in the exchange to occur between Thanksgiving and the Dec. 15 deadline.