As Connecticut’s health care exchange gears up for its second open enrollment period this November, officials are touting the results of the state’s first enrollment effort.
A survey of 6,015 individuals who purchased insurance through Access Health CT showed that more than 80 percent of enrollees were satisfied with the enrollment process. More than 250,000 people were enrolled earlier this year.
Chris Barnes, senior vice president of client development for the Pert Group — the firm that conducted the survey — said that 54 percent of enrollees did not have insurance during the year prior to enrolling.
Barnes also said the report showed that 26 percent of private plan enrollees and 44 percent of Medicaid enrollees were African American or Hispanic.
“You can see that we’re closing the gap on the disparities in health care,” Barnes said. “We’re reaching underserved populations, which is one of the key goals of the organization.”
Access Health CT customers will have their plans automatically renewed this fall, unless they’ve seen a change in income.
“If their income has changed, then they will need to come back online and re-vet through our system,” acting Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh said.
Access Health CT will be opening storefronts in New Britain and New Haven again in mid-October, although the report showed that less than 10 percent of enrollees received in-person assistance.
Wadleigh said Access Health CT is still trying to get official documentation from about 2,000 immigrant enrollees with questionable legal status.
He said Access Health CT has been calling the customers who have not sent in documentation for the past four months.
“The expectation is, the beginning of November, they will be terminated formally” if they have not sent in official documentation, said Wadleigh.
About 25 percent of enrollees have not yet used their health insurance, according to the report. Twenty three percent of private plan enrollees and 33 percent of Medicaid enrollees said they did not have a primary care physician.
Barnes was optimistic about the upcoming enrollment period. He said that 45 percent of people who enrolled in a private plan did so through the website, without any help from Access Health CT.
“They’re going to be able to re-enroll and navigate the process very well with the resources, whether it’s the website or even getting assistance, that population is going to be able to handle it because the process was smooth last time” he said.
Advocates have expressed concern with the lack of focus on the in-person assister program.
“The fact that at this date, Access Health CT has no clear public plan for the next enrollment period is very disturbing,” Frances Padilla, president of the Universal Health Care Foundation, told the Access Health CT Board of Directors last month. “We are extremely disappointed that there may be no in-person assistance or navigation services available come Nov. 15.”
Wadleigh said there’s been a lot of confusion about the in-person assistance program and Jason Madrak, Access Health CT’s marketing director, will go into detail at Thursday’s board meeting about what resources will go into the program this year.
“While that program has been at the forefront, it’s not any different than any other program we have in our open enrollment process,” Wadleigh said. “We are in the process of planning through open enrollment in total. At a high level, we are going to have an in-person assistance program for the 2015 enrollment period.”
He declined to give further detail Thursday at the press conference about what exactly the in-person assistance program will include.
Of the 27 percent of enrollees in private plans who reported that they were ‘somewhat satisfied’ with the enrollment process, Barnes said “they didn’t list any particular issues. It’s more a case of it has not met every expectation they had.” The survey found 36 percent of that same population were “very satisfied” and 20 percent were “extremely satisfied.”
The full report, meaning all slides, will be posted online Thursday, according to Access Health CT officials. An abbreviated version of the survey can be found at http://bit.ly/AHCTcensus