From the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding Healthcare.gov enrollment for policies that go live on 1/1/16:
Through the deadline for January 1, 2016 coverage, almost 6 million people signed up for health coverage through HealthCare.gov, compared to last year when about 3.4 million had signed up by the first enrollment deadline. Of the nearly 6 million total consumers already enrolled for 2016 coverage, 2.4 million are new consumers, compared to 1.8 million new consumers in the same period for OE2
Enrollment growth is happening fast, 33% more new buyers than old buyers. And 60% more total policies.
More importantly, on first glance the risk pool is getting better:
. By the end of the first deadline this year (December 17), there were about 2.1 million HealthCare.gov consumers under 35 years old, compared to about 1.1 million before the first deadline last year. Those under 35 composed 35% of HealthCare.gov consumers by the end of the first deadline this year, compared to 33% before the deadline last year for January 1 coverage….
those under 35 composed 41% of new HealthCare.gov consumers by the end of the first deadline this year (December 17), compared to 38% before the deadline last year (December 15).
The risk pool is getting younger which means, on average, it is getting cheaper to cover. More importantly, it is getting younger through growth of younger new buyers instead of attrition from older, previous previous period policy holders.
My one big question is which band are these younger buyers go into? If they are going into Bronze because they can get very low post-subsidy plans to avoid the mandate penalty, they don’t help the aggregate program health all that much. If they are going into Silver at near proportional rates, they’ll make the biggest risk pool a whole lot healthier. We’ll find that out when we see the ASPE report.