Understanding ACA Enrollment Data

By Phillip Bergquist, Director of Health Center Operations, Michigan Primary Care Association

Sarah Kliff said it best in her post for the Washington Post’s Wonkblog— “counting the number of people who have signed up for Obamacare turns out to be vexingly difficult. After four months of open enrollment, now seems like an excellent time to break down what we do and don’t know about the exact number of people gaining coverage through the Affordable Care Act.”

Kliff’s post refers extensively to the monthly updates on health insurance enrollment published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. The reports provide enrollee demographics, intel on plan selection and information on Marketplace financial assistance, in addition to Medicaid/CHIP eligibility assessments.

Building on Wonkblog’s analysis of national enrollment data, I wanted to share some of the most recent indicators for the the State of Michigan infused with a little editorial context.

  • 112,013 Michigan residents have selected a plan in the Marketplace.
    • Michigan’s enrollment total exceeded HHS projections for the state by just over 12,000 enrollees. However, we still have a lot of work ahead to reach the 161,000 enrollee target set for the end of March.
  • 15.5% of the eligible population in Michigan has enrolled.
    • Michigan has the tenth highest percentage in the country and the second highest amongst states using Healthcare.gov.
  • There are still significant gaps between them number of individuals who applied and were eligible to enroll and those who actually selected a plan.
    • 255,055 Michigan residents were found eligible to enroll in a Marketplace plan; 147,654 were found eligible to enroll with financial assistance. Since 112,013 actually selected a plan, there appears to be a need for stronger follow-up on applications to capture those who submitted but haven’t yet enrolled.
  • The percentage of young adults (age 18-34) enrolling through the Marketplace in Michigan increased slightly from 25% cumulatively in January to 26% in February.
    • Michigan’s young adult enrollment is slightly higher than the average for all states (24%) but lower than we would hope as over one-third of premium tax credit eligible individuals in Michigan fall into this age group.
  • 88% of Michigan’s enrollees selected a Silver medal level plan or higher.
    • This is again higher than the average for all states (81%) and a good indicator of positive plan selection decisions. Consumers appear to be choosing higher value plans over those that are simply cheapest.
  • 86% of Michigan’s enrollees received financial assistance through the Marketplace.
    • Nearly 80% of those who received financial assistance selected a silver plan, which shows most enrollees are maximizing the potential impact of cost-sharing reductions.
  • 34,032 Michiganders were assessed eligible for current Medicaid or CHIP coverage.
    • Admittedly, this number is very low right now. It will climb dramatically when the Healthy Michigan Plan is implemented later this spring.

With only 41 days left in the Marketplace open enrollment period, we won’t have to wait long to see how the amazing outreach and education efforts  in communities across the state impact coverage enrollment. We’ll be sure to continue to dig into the enrollment data to better understand our collective impact in the months to come.

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