DC exchange users prefer platinumNews added by Benefits Pro on January 14, 2014
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By Allison Bell

The public exchange in the District of Columbia has been attracting a high percentage of enrollees under 45 and selling richer benefits packages than managers had expected.

The total number of people who have used DC Health Link to sign up for individual private “qualified health plan” coverage has increased to 3,646 as of Jan. 9, up from 2,649 Dec. 23.

The exchange Small Business Health Options Program division has enrolled 11,967 people in coverage, and 4,677 people in Medicaid.

The enrollment numbers are the first detailed figures the exchange has published.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management gave the D.C. SHOP exchange division a boost by telling the workers in the district who have to get their through the exchange to buy it through the D.C. SHOP system.

In the individual QHP market, 37 percent of the enrollees are ages 26 through 34, and 20 percent are ages 35 to 44. Only 14.5 percent are 45 or older.

Exchange managers expected enrollees to gravitate toward the cheaper bronze and silver level plans, but platinum plans, which are supposed to cover 90 percent of the actuarial value of the PPACA essential health benefits package, have been the most popular options. The platinum plans have attracted 695 of the enrollees.

Silver plans, which cover 70 percent of the value of the EHB package, have been the least popular option, attracting just 23 percent of the enrollees.

The D.C. exchange required consumers to choose plans by Dec. 23 to have coverage in place by Jan. 1, and insurers agreed to give enrollees until Jan. 10 to pay for January coverage.

The D.C. exchange is using whether consumers have chosen a QHP, not whether they’ve paid, to produce enrollment activity numbers.

The total includes 2,649 people who were on track to have QHP coverage in place this month and 997 people who could have insurance Feb. 1.

A nearby exchange, the Maryland Health Connection, also is using the number of people who have picked QHPs, not who actually paid, in its enrollment data.

The Maryland exchange says the number of people who have picked QHPs has increased to 20,358 as of Jan. 4.

The weekly enrollment total fell to 2,101, from 4,280. Officials said they expected to see the weekly total drop because Dec. 23 was the state’s plan selection deadline for coverage that started Jan. 1.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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