Bay State exchange traffic coolsNews added by Benefits Pro on April 18, 2014
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By Allison Bell

Massachusetts public exchange managers have data hinting that a large share of consumers who wanted commercial coverage and could afford it now have it.

The staff of the state-based Massachusetts Health Connector have included website and call center traffic statistics for the first week of April in a board meeting packet.

The staff found that website and call center traffic surged around March 31, then returned to normal levels this month.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, state regulators, state exchange plan managers and plan issuers developed the open enrollment period system to keep consumers from waiting until they got sick to pay for coverage.

The HHS-run exchanges and many state-based exchanges extended the enrollment period to mid-April.

Observers wondered whether the extensions would bring out a flood of consumers who’d procrastinated, had experienced genuine enrollment problems, or had first learned about the exchanges because of publicity about the deadline.

In Massachusetts, exchange enrollment website traffic started at 3,182 visitors per day March 3, jumped to 13,015 per day March 17, then soared to 30,116 per day March 31.

Web traffic fell to 4,916 April 8.

At the call centers, volume averaged about 14,000 calls per day during the first half of March, rose to 16,325 on March 31, then settled down at 14,550 April 8.

Weekly application intake started at 19,316 in mid-March, climbed to 28,562 during the last week of March, then fell to 14,458 applications during the first week of April.

In other Massachusetts exchange news:
  • Overall enrollment in subsidized state health insurance programs of all kinds increased to 1.9 million, from 1.6 million.

  • Unsubsidized enrollment in exchange plans fell to 29,775 April 8, from 36,060 Dec. 1, 2013, when the state had its own, homegrown exchange plan program in place. The exchange is planning to conduct a survey to learn why enrollment fell.
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