Open enrollment has come and gone but new federal data, obtained by ProPublica, shows the federal exchange saw roughly 1 million insurance transactions since mid-April.
Between April 20 and July 15, federal exchange officials sent about 960,000 "834" enrollment files to insurers, ProPublica reported. So far in July, about 150,728 HealthCare.gov transactions have occurred. However, it remains unclear how many of those transactions accounted for plan changes, cancellations or new enrollments.
Minnesota's exchange failure highlights the ongoing problems with 834 files. Not only did most of the 834s never reach insurers, they also contained duplicate transmissions and various errors, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.
Even though open enrollment on the federal health insurance exchange officially closed in April, consumers could still sign up for or switch exchange plans due to life-changing events, including marriage, the birth of a child or loss of a job.
An insurance industry official told ProPublica that less than half of the transactions since mid-April involved new enrollments while ACA statistics-tracker Charles Gaba estimated between 6,000 and 7,000 new sign-ups occurred after open enrollment closed.
"That doesn't account for attrition. That doesn't mean that they paid," Gaba told ProPublica.
Whether new enrollments or policy changes, the amount of federal exchange activity has surprised some industry experts.
"That's higher than I would have expected," Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told ProPublica. "There are a lot of people who qualify for special enrollment, but my assumption has been that few of them would actually sign up."
Moreover, many people who wanted to enroll or change their policies due to a major life event may have been unable to do so. Minnesota has about 6,500 requests pending for changes due to a life event, and Oregon has a backlog of more than 8,000 life event requests.
- read the ProPublica article