better at retaining enrollees than state-run exchanges

Federally operated health insurance exchanges retained more enrollees from 2014 than state-run exchanges, while also signing up a higher percentage of new consumers this year compared to state-run marketplaces, according to a new analysis from Avalere Health.

This year, on average re-enrolled 78 percent of people who signed up for insurance coverage in 2014, while state-run exchanges re-enrolled 69 percent of their 2014 enrollees. And California--which had the highest enrollment in 2014 of all state-run exchanges--only retained 65 percent of their enrollees last year.

As for the higher enrollment rates for 2015, federally-facilitated exchanges boosted their enrollment totals by 61 percent to 8.8 million people. State-run marketplaces, on the other hand, raised their enrollment by just 12 percent to 2.8 million individuals.

The larger states running, including Florida and Texas, increased enrollment by 62 percent and 64 percent, respectively. Florida enrolled 1.27 million people by mid-January before the enrollment period closed, FierceHealthPayer previously reported. But large states operating their own marketplaces, including California and New York, increased enrollment by 1 percent and 10 percent, respectively, Avalere noted.

However, it remains unclear as to why the federal exchanges were better at re-enrolling consumers. 

"Some of the higher 2015 enrollment may be attributed to initial technological issues with that may have depressed 2014 enrollment, however, that alone does not explain why state-run exchanges did so poorly, relative to the federally-facilitated exchange states," Avalere Senior Vice President Caroline Pearson said in the analysis.

Another possibility is that states running their own exchanges had more enrollees who reported incomes that were larger than what they actually earned. For example, California moved about 200,000 exchange enrollees in Medicaid this year. But Avalere noted that it doesn't know why state-run exchanges would have "disproportionately experienced such corrections."

To learn more:
- here's the Avalere analysis