HARTFORD, CT — While enrollment trends are surpassing their expectations, Access Health CT CEO James Wadleigh warned it’s hard to compare enrollment this year to last year because of the shortened enrollment period.
There are only seven weeks of enrollment this year, when in years past it had been three months. That change is making it hard to compare enrollment figures on a weekly basis.
As of Friday morning, 19,239 individuals had enrolled in plans through the exchange, according to Access Health CT officials.
The increasing enrollment numbers seem to be tracking with an increase in enrollment nationally.
As of Wednesday, federal officials reported that about 1.5 million consumers had purchased plans on the federal exchange, which handles coverage in 39 states.
Wadleigh said a lot of customers are deciding to continue to purchase their plans on the exchange even if they may not receive a premium tax credit.
“I’m very glad to see the level of engagement,” Wadleigh said.
However, he said because the enrollment period is shorter this year they will offer comparisons of the enrollment data once the process is completed.
Connecticut consumers have a choice of 20 plans being offered in three different tiers on the exchange with ConnectiCare Benefits or Anthem Health Plans.
A bronze plan may have a higher deductible and lower premiums, and a gold plan may have higher premiums and a lower deductible because the plan offers more benefits than a bronze plan.
The general rule of thumb is that bronze plans are geared toward younger, healthier consumers, while older consumers may prefer a gold plan because they visit their doctors more frequently.
Many consumers who had silver plans are buying bronze level plans, according to the early data.
That’s because if they receive a tax subsidy to purchase insurance, their premiums would drop to as low as $52 per month for a family of four living in New Haven County making 350 percent of the federal poverty level or around $86,000 per year.
If they bought the lowest cost Silver plan they would be paying about $684 per month after the tax credit is applied. This year for that same plan they would have been paying about $690 per month.
“People who are not eligible for financial help are purchasing products in lower tiers,” Andrea Ravitz, director of marketing for Access Health CT, said Thursday.
She said it’s almost 50/50 at the moment. There are about 50 percent renewing in Silver plans and the other 50 percent are choosing Bronze plans in 2018.