More than 18,600 Delawareans signed up for health care coverage by April 15, the final deadline of the 2014 enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace, Secretary Rita Landgraf of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services announced today.
The total of 18,614 enrollees includes 14,397 individuals who selected a marketplace plan through HealthCare.gov or directly through an insurer and 4,217 others who enrolled as newly eligible clients under the state’s expanded Medicaid program.
Continuing the surge seen in the days before the initial March 31 deadline, 3,062 individuals signed up for marketplace plans between April 1 and April 15, the deadline the federal government gave to those who were “in line” to enroll by March 31 but who were unable to finish in time. That’s an increase of 27 percent from the total at the end of March. Combined with the more than 4,300 people who signed up in March, more than half of the state’s total enrollment on the marketplace occurred in the last month and a half.
The nearly 14,400 Marketplace-plan enrollees represent 180 percent of the target of 8,000 that the federal government set for Delaware in September 2013, before open enrollment began, Secretary Landgraf reported at the monthly meeting of the Delaware Health Care Commission.
“These numbers are further evidence of the great surge of interest among Delawareans as the marketplace’s first open enrollment period ended,” Landgraf said. “We cannot forget that behind the numbers are real people with a genuine need for quality health care they can afford, which is what the Affordable Care Act is all about. It’s clear that as word spread about the coverage available on the marketplace, more Delawareans rushed to meet the deadline and sign up.”
Among the other figures related to Marketplace enrollments as of April 15, as provided by the private insurance companies participating in the marketplace in Delaware:
- Enrollees by age: 27 percent are ages 55-64; 23 percent are ages 18-34; 22 percent are ages 45-54; 16 percent are ages 35-44; and 11 percent are 17 or younger.
- By gender: 55 percent are female and 45 percent male.
- By county: 59 percent live in New Castle County (compared to 62 percent on March 31), 29 percent in Sussex County (compared to 25 percent on March 31) and 13 percent in Kent County (consistent with March 31).
- Financial assistance: 81 percent qualified for federal financial assistance (up from 79 percent on March 31)
- Dental coverage: 1,172 Delawareans selected stand-alone dental plans through the marketplace
Of the Medicaid enrollees, according to the state Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance:
- By age: 25 percent are ages 26-34; 22 percent are ages 35-44; 21 percent are ages 45-54; 18 percent are ages 19-25; and 15 percent are ages 55-64.
- By gender: 67 percent are female and 33 percent male.
- By county: 52 percent live in New Castle County, 28 percent in Sussex and 21 percent in Kent.
Individuals can enroll in Medicaid throughout the year. As of Jan. 1, Delaware expanded its eligibility for Medicaid from 100 percent to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or about $16,100 annual income for an individual.
According to information provided by the insurance companies, 64 percent of those who picked plans by April 15 had paid their first month’s premium. That number is expected to rise, since individuals who enrolled between March 16 and April 15 had until April 30 to pay their first premium for coverage effective May 1.
As for how many of Delaware’s new enrollees were previously uninsured, “We currently have no data that lets us identify who was insured and who wasn’t,” Landgraf said. “That was a missed opportunity on the Healthcare.gov application. We will continue to share information and analysis on all aspects of the marketplace as it becomes available.”
Other individuals will qualify for coverage in 2014 through federally designated special enrollment periods, which allow them to sign up between now and Nov. 15, when open enrollment for 2015 coverage begins. Special enrollment periods are available to those with complex cases involving Medicaid eligibility or other complications and to those who experience life changes such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, moving to Delaware or losing minimum essential health coverage from another plan. (To see if you qualify for a special enrollment period go to www.HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.)
Delaware’s Marketplace Guides remain available for those who need help during a special enrollment period. To contact a guide and for updates on the Health Insurance Marketplace, go to www.ChooseHealthDE.com.
Under the Affordable Care Act, most Americans are required to have health insurance or face a financial penalty, which will be assessed when they do their 2014 taxes next year. The penalty for not being covered in 2014 will be $95 per person ($47.50 per child under 18) or 1 percent of annual household income, whichever is higher. (Only the amount above the tax filing threshold of $10,150 is used to calculate the penalty.) The penalty increases every year. For 2015, it is the higher of 2 percent annual income or $325 per person. For 2016, it’s 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person.
The next open enrollment period, for coverage in 2015, will run from Nov. 15, 2014, to Feb. 15, 2015.
To view Secretary Landgraf’s May 1 presentation to the Health Care Commission, go to Presentations on the Commission’s website.