New exchange numbers – good news but lots of questions

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CT’s health insurance exchange has enrolled 121,983 people into coverage, exceeding next month’s goal. In other good news, CT is beginning to catch up to other states in Medicaid enrollment – 71,318 (58%) of those enrollments were into Medicaid, 22,335 (31%) of those would have qualified for Medicaid without the ACA. The exchange estimates that only 10 to 15% of those enrolled in exchange plans were previously uninsured, raising questions about whether CT’s uninsured rate will drop as much as expected. Other unanswered questions crucial to evaluating the success of the exchange include the ages and health needs of exchange enrollees and the adequacy of the provider network. A bill has again been raised this session to address another serious shortcoming of the exchange – CT has the 4th highest premiums in the US, higher than any other state-based exchange. The bill, SB-11, would direct the exchange to negotiate premiums with insurers. States that negotiate premiums offer lower premiums to their customers. The state should pursue this and every other option to keep coverage affordable for CT residents.