HARTFORD, CT — The number of customers purchasing plans through Connecticut’s insurance exchange is around what it was last year in the first two weeks of open enrollment.
Since Nov. 1, 12,777 customers have shopped and purchased a plan for 2019, according to Access Health CT officials. That means about 85,000 enrollees have yet to renew into a 2019 policy.
It’s the sixth year of open enrollment for Access Health CT and there have been a few plan changes that may be motivating customers to do more shopping than in past years.
Traffic on the website is trending about 18 percent higher than it was at this time last year, according to Access Health CT’s Director of Technical Operations and Analytics Robert Blundo.
Blundo said call center volume is six percent lower than it was at this point last year, which means more people are coming to the website and self-serving.
An estimated 60 percent of customers are picking plans that are different from their plan in 2018 and that’s compared to only 18 percent who were changing their plans last year. It also means there are a higher percentage of customers using brokers to help them make a decision about the health plan that’s right for them.
Auto-enrollment notices will be sent next week and is still an option. However, customers should know that even if you are auto-renewed into a plan there’s still time before Dec. 15 to choose a different plan.
The most popular 2019 plan so far is the lowest cost silver plan offered by ConnectiCare, which has captured about 30 percent of the enrollees so far this year. Anthem Health Plans also offers plans on the exchange.
Between the two insurance companies they offer 17 different plans down from 20 in 2018.
Blundo said that’s similar to what they saw last year in that customers tend to purchase plans based on the lowest monthly premium and the default sort order on the website goes by monthly premium.
“Our customers are cost conscious,” Blundo said. “The monthly premium is by far the leading indicator for making a plan decision, for better or for worse.”
He said they’re hearing customers tell them they like their plan and they want a plan that’s just like that except cheaper. He said that’s why broker feedback is important because sometimes the plan that has a lower monthly premium, isn’t always the most economical based on a person’s health.
Nationally, enrollment in 2019 plans through Healthcare.gov is lagging by about 300,000 enrollees.
According to information released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 1.2 million people have signed up for Affordable Care Act exchange coverage during the first two weeks of open enrollment. That’s less than the 1.5 million sign-ups during the first two weeks last year.
Open enrollment will last nationally and in Connecticut until Dec. 15.