President Obama’s press conference this afternoon threw out a series of numbers concerning interest in subsidized health insurance on the Exchanges. What do these numbers actually mean from an insurer’s perspective?
So far, the national website, HealthCare.gov, has been visited nearly 20 million times. Twenty million times.
This means very little. For comparison’s sake, Balloon Juice has had slightly less than 10% of that traffic in the same time span. These hits are not particularly informative as they could be the curious bloggers, they could be people who are looking and then walking away, and they could be people who are interested.
We know that nearly one-third of the people applying in Connecticut and Maryland, for example, are under 35 years old.
If these numbers hold up and can be nationalized at scale, then the financing of the Exchanges works out very easily. I am slightly curious as to why these two states are examples as the demographic/actuarial concerns are national lack of interest in young people in these products. I would love to see what the age profiles look like in California (as it is the biggest), Texas, and Kentucky look like.
And all told, more than half a million consumers across the country have successfully submitted applications through federal and state marketplaces.
The actual number is 476,000 or more applications have been submitted for eligibility verification. This is an important number. These are the subscribers who have created an account, filled out the first round of applications with family size, birth dates, and income information and sent it in for verification. A very high percentage of these applications will result in added medical coverage. The question is what is the average number of people on an application and what is the conversion rate to Medicaid versus Exchange. As an insurance geek, 476,000 applications indicates 476,000 potential contracts, and probably 800,000 or more actual covered lives. Initial numbers out of states indicate a 40% to 50% Medicaid eligibility rate, so assuming a fairly high buy rate for Exchange eligible applicants, we’re looking at 5% to 7% of the Exchange goal population has already applied.
Trained representative, it usually takes about 25 minutes for an individual to apply for coverage, about 45 minutes for a family. Once you apply for coverage, you will be contacted by email or postal mail about your coverage status.
That actually is really impressive for initial intake and application.
Right now, the enrollment numbers are low as insurers don’t consider someone enrolled until either the check has been received or the credit card swiped for the first month’s premium. January 1st is the first day of coverage, and payment is not due until Dec. 15th, so quite a few people are making choices and getting in line to get on a plan but have not written the check or authorized the automatic charge against the credit card.