HHS Reveals Updated Profile of Federal Exchange Enrollees

Officials from HHS released new data detailing the profile of consumers who enrolled in federal health insurance exchange plans, and the data show that more than 8 million people signed up for coverage.

Officials from HHS released new data detailing the profile of consumers who enrolled in federal health insurance exchange plans, and the data show that more than 8 million people signed up for coverage. Of those, 2.2 million people who enrolled during the initial open period in 2013 were between the ages of 18 and 34 years, and an estimated 4 million additional people enrolled in March 2014, the end of the open enrollment period. About 1.2 million of the late enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34 years, meaning that the “young invincibles” are signing up for healthcare.

“What we’re finding is that the marketplace is working. Consumers have more choices and they’re paying less for their premiums,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

The report identified other federal exchange trends, including the types of plans that people selected as well as the number of enrollees who benefited from tax subsidies. Silver plans were the most popular, but enrollees said their premiums decreased by approximately 76% due to the tax subsidies, regardless of which plan type they selected. On average, consumers were able to choose from 47 plans from 5 different health insurers, but most chose whichever plan had the lowest premium.

While good news for consumers, the report suggested that the government will spend at least $11 billion on subsidies. In April, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the annual cost of subsidies would rise to $23 billion in 2015, and $95 billion by 2024. The CBO said then that it hoped that costs would be offset by cuts in other federal healthcare spending.

An estimated 2 million people who received the subsidies were also asked to verify their personal information after it was discovered the information they provided did not match up with federal records. Those found to have discrepancies may be asked to pay back a portion of their credits at some point.

“We remain committed to working with consumers individually—as well as our state and federal partners—to address any issues that may be impacting consumers’ ability to secure quality, affordable health coverage,” said Julie Bataille, director of communications at CMS.

Around the Web

HHS Releases New Details About 2014 Marketplace Premiums, Subsidies [KHN]

Due Diligence — Double, Triple Checking Consumer Info [HHS]