Now that it appears that the full list of states and counties eligible for hurricane (or windstorm, in the case of Maine) Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) has settled down, Huffington Post reporter Jonathan Cohn asked an interesting question:
How if at all do you allow for the extensions in FL, TX, etc.? Or, to put another way, how many post-Dec 15 signups through https://t.co/bhGNSognZK do you expect?
The closest parallel to this particular situation I can think of was the #ACATaxTime SEP back in spring 2015. In that case, it was the first year that the ACA's (defunct as of this morning) Individual Mandate was being enforced, and a lot of people either never got the message about being required to #GetCovered or at least pretended that they didn't.
CMS Announces Special Enrollment Periods for Americans Impacted by Recent Hurricanes Agency provides special open enrollment periods for 2017 Medicare and Exchange coverage
As a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make available special enrollment periods for all Medicare beneficiaries and certain individuals seeking health plans offered through the Federal Health Insurance Exchange. This important step gives these individuals and families who have been impacted by the hurricanes the opportunity to change their Medicare health and prescription drug plans and gain access to health coverage on the Exchange immediately if eligible for a special enrollment period.
Back in August it looked as though Florida carriers were looking at either 15.5% unsubsidized rate increases on the individual market if CSR reimbursement payments were guaranteed next year, or around 35.5% if they weren't. Well, the official rates have been released by the Florida Dept. of Insurance, and it's even uglier than that for unsubsidized enrollees:
Office Announces Submission of Proposed Rates for 2018 Federal PPACA Health Insurance Plans
We're heading into the home stretch now, with the only remaining "supersize" state, FLORIDA. FL has the largest exchange-based individual market enrollment, and the 2nd largest total individual market enrollment of any state in the country, surpassing California for a variety of local economic/demographic reasons. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that FL carriers would have to add about 25% to their Silver plan premiums in order to make up for CSR reimbursements if Trump pulls the plug and/or Congress doesn't formally appropriate them. Since 80% of FL exchange enrollees are on Silver plans, that translates to roughly a 20% additional "Trump Tax" for the CSR factor alone. Note that while none of the carriers mention the CSR issue (meaning they all assume the payments will be made), Molina does call out the individual mandate enforcement issues as being part of their 37.5% rate increase request. Unfortunately, they don't put a hard number on this.
In additon to color-coding their data by the political party of each District's Representative, I'm also adding my own spin on the data: Estimates of how many people currently enrolled in the individual market suffer from "pre-existing conditions" which would likely mean them either being denied coverage altogether if the ACA's Guaranteed Issue, Essential Health Benefits and Community Rating provisions were to be stripped (Alternately, these people would charged massively higher rates to the point of likely not being able to afford the policy).
...the assumption is that as long as insurance carriers either a) know they'll make a profit in a given market or b) think they'll make a profit at some point in the near future, they'll participate in that market, right?
However, that's not necessarily the case. As we saw last year in the case of Aetna, profitability itself doesn't necessarily guarantee participation. Aetna pulled out of 11 states, and while they were losing money on the indy market in most of them, there were at least 2 states (Pennsylvania and Florida) where they were making a profit, yet bailed anyway. In fact, in Florida, the only reason they were making a profit in the indy market was because of their exchange business (they were losing money off-exchange).
Initially, the story seemed to be about a man who railed against Obamacare while both taking absolutely no responsibility for failing to take advantage of the benefits of the law which he was entitled to and simultaneously blaming President Obama for the failure of his own GOP-controlled state to expand Medicaid under the law. Several people wrote up articles ripping Mr. Lang to shreds over his seeming hypocrisy, myself included.
As I noted when I crunched the numbers for Texas, it's actually easier to figure out how many people would lose coverage if the ACA is repealed in non-expansion states because you can't rip away healthcare coverage from someone who you never provided it to in the first place.
My standard methodology applies:
Plug in the 2/01/16 QHP selections by county (hard numbers via CMS)
Project QHP selections as of 1/31/17 based on statewide signup estimates
Knock 10% off those numbers to account for those who never end up paying their premiums
Multiply the projected effectuated enrollees as of March by the percent expected to receive APTC subsidies
Then knock another 10% off of that number to account for those only receiving nominal subsidies
Whatever's left after that are the number of people in each county who wouldn't be able to afford their policy without tax credits.
In the case of Florida, assuming they hit 1.825 million exchange enrollees this year, it comes to a whopping 1.35* million people.
I appear to have something of a semi-exclusive here, if only because the Florida DOI isn't formally posting these documents on their website until tomorrow due ot the holiday weekend:
Office Announces 2017 PPACA Individual Market Health Insurance Plan Rates to Increase 19% on Average
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced today that premiums for Florida individual major medical plans in compliance with the federal Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will increase an average of 19% beginning January 1, 2017. Per federal guidelines, a total of 15 health insurance companies submitted rate filings for the Office’s review in May. These rate filings consisted of individual major medical plans to be sold both on and off the Exchange. Following the Office’s rate filing review, the average approved rate changes on the Exchange range from a low of -6% to a high of 65%. This information can be located in the attached “Individual PPACA Market Monthly Premiums for Plan Year 2017*” document.
The Affordable Care Act's exchanges have not been a bust for every health insurer. Florida's Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate made a profit of almost a half-billion dollars on the ACA's new individual plans last year.
The substantial ACA exchange losses exhibited by large health insurers—such as Health Care Service Corp., Highmark, Humana and UnitedHealth Group—have emboldened the law's critics and worried investors about whether the new marketplaces will ever achieve sustainability.
Yet many other companies, including Medicaid insurers Centene Corp. andMolina Healthcare and now Florida Blue, have had no difficulties making money on the new ACA plans, which often have narrow networks of hospitals and doctors as well as high deductibles.
Fifteen health insurers want an average 17.7 percent increase in premiums for Affordable Care Act individual plans, Florida officials said Thursday — higher than last year’s approved average of less than 10 percent.
...In Florida, 15 companies also asked for an average 9.6 percent increase for small group plans, said Amy Bogner, spokeswoman for the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation.
The companies were not identified individually because they claimed trade secrecy, she said.
In order to do this properly, I'd need 2 pieces of data: First, the weighted average increase request for the 6 additionalcompanies which I didn't already have rate requests for; and second, the total ACA-compliant enrollment number for those 6 companies.
The Rate Review database at Healthcare.Gov is a very useful tool for any insurance company requesting rate increases above 10%, but it's completely useless for requests below 10%. As such, I have hard data on the requested increases for about 600,000 Florida residents:
If Florida's entire ACA-compliant individual market was only 600K people, that would be the end of the story.
However, Florida actually has 16 different insurance companies selling individual policies...and the other 9 are all asking for lower than 10% hikes. After poking around the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website as well as contacting the department directly, I've been able to pull together covered lives data for all 16, and requested rate change data for 3 more of them...2 of which are actually requesting rate decreases. When I add those 3 companies into the mix, the picture changes like so: