Between December 29 and January 31, Connect for Health Colorado enrolled 19,502 people in private qualified health plans. When HHS released their December report last month, Colorado’s total enrollment in QHPs was just over 50,000 people. That number had climbed to nearly 70,000 people by the end of January. Total enrollment at the end of November was just under 10,000, so December saw an increase of more than 40,000 people.
In addition, 117,607 people have enrolled in Medicaid through the exchange under Colorado’s expanded Medicaid program, bringing total exchange enrollment to 187,234 after four months of open enrollment.
There are also people signing up for new ACA-compliant plans off-exchange, although that number is not being tracked the way exchange enrollment is. But it certainly adds to the total number of people who are enrolling in high quality new health insurance policies.
In September 2012, there were approximately 788,000 uninsured residents in Colorado. According to a recent study, 10.2% of the eligible population in Colorado had enrolled through the exchange by the end of January – but there are still hundreds of thousands of potential enrollees. Many will sign up between now and the end of March, although enrollment nationwide is expected to ramp up gradually over the next few years (and again, some of the eligible population are enrolling off-exchange, which means the total number who have enrolled in new plans is likely a little higher than 10.2%)
There was a huge swell of enrollment all across the country in December, as people rushed to get coverage in effect for January 1. But applicants who were enrolling in January were likely choosing to do so of their own volition, rather than having to do so because an existing policy was terminating. So January’s enrollment coming in at just under 50% of the enrollment in December is a sign that Connect for Health Colorado is working well.
This Saturday, February 15, is the deadline to enroll in a plan with a March 1 effective date. The next deadline will be March 15, to enroll in a plan with an April 1 effective date.
Open enrollment closes on March 31. People who enroll between March 16 and March 31 will have a May 1 effective date. There is likely to be another surge of applications as we get closer to the end of March. In order to avoid the rush, don’t wait until the last few days in March. If you already have coverage in place (that you’re going to replace with a new plan) and you’re flexible in terms of when you need your new plan to be effective, the best time to enroll is right after a deadline passes. This week is busy for Connect for Health Colorado and for carriers, processing all of the final applications that are coming in before the February 15 deadline; next week should be less busy.