ACA Open Enrollment Period Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the first day of the open enrollment period for the ACA health insurance exchanges. We all remember the disaster that was the first roll out of the health insurance exchanges. It will be interesting to see how the health insurance exchanges do a year later. I expect they’ll get overwhelmed again, but will generally be much smoother.

I’m particularly interested in this open enrollment period, because I’ll be participating in the search for health insurance. After jacking up my insurance premium thanks to ACA, my insurance plan is pulling out of my state. Sucks for us, but you’ll benefit since I’ll document my experience on the Healthcare Scene network of blogs.

Probably the best tool I’ve found so far has been this tool that previews the health insurance exchange plans. Ok, so the tool has a lot to be desired (ie. Why can’t I easily compare plans? How about some quality filters? etc). However, at least all of the plans are there so I have a place to start. Personally, I work in healthcare and going through the various plan options is like learning another language. I’m not excited to take part in the search.

I’ll be interested to see how the exchange plans compare to what I could just get on the market. Will they cost the same or more? We’ll see. Of course, the real reason that most people use the health insurance exchanges is because they want to get the government subsidized health insurance. Harry Reid just sent me the following about this topic:

Financial assistance is available during open enrollment to help you afford coverage by lowering your monthly payments. In fact, 82 percent of Nevadans who enrolled through the health insurance marketplace last open enrollment period were eligible for financial help to lower the sticker price of coverage.

Pretty amazing to see how many that used the exchanges got some sort of government subsidy for their insurance. I would have thought there would be more that didn’t qualify for government money that still used the exchange.

The Transamerica Center for Health Studies just sent me some interesting findings from their second annual ACA survey:

  • As of July 2014, the percentage of uninsured Americans had decreased from 22 percent to 15 percent since the previous year.
  • Most of the newly insured population acquired their health insurance through an Exchange (30 percent) or a government-sponsored program (28 percent).
  • More than three-quarters of the newly insured are satisfied or highly satisfied with the quality of the healthcare system they now access.
  • The highest percent (44 percent) of the uninsured are age 18 to 34.
  • Of those who are uninsured, 27 percent say paying their health expenses plus the penalty is less expensive than the options available to them.
  • Twenty-two percent of the uninsured did not obtain health insurance prior to the ACA deadline because they were not aware of the individual mandate.

This second time around, I don’t think it will be quite as eventful as the first time around. Although, you can be sure the media will be looking for that story. Usually when you go looking for something, you’re sure to find it.

Reminds me of meetings I do at conferences. They ask me what type of topic I’m looking for at the event. I never give them an answer, because I’m not at the event to cover a specific topic or to try and tell a specific story. I’m at the event to discover what stories are interesting and worth telling. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the media. You can be sure we’ll have plenty of stories this next week on the ACA open enrollment period.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • John,

    I got onto the site I use – in NY. First thing I did was to do a preview of plans. According to that, the plan I’m currently in – and which NY says I’ve been re-enrolled in automatically, just doesn’t exist. Great job so far! 🙂

    I decided to go and do some updates on the site that are part of the process. In the middle of one, the site shut down for the night – unannounced, at exactly 10:58PM EST – and no, they don’t have any hours posted. But tomorrow morning, when most users will be at work, it should be back up!

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