Strong Activity Through Thanksgiving as OEP19 Enters the Second Half
We’re now more than halfway through the 2019 Open Enrollment Period (OEP19) for ACA individual health insurance — and past the “Thanksgiving decline” in enrollment activity. These next two weeks are typically when we see the majority of annual enrollments. But for now, let’s take a look at what has happened so far.
HealthSherpa continues to significantly outperform its own enrollment totals from OEP18, as well as outperforming year-over-year percentage of enrollments shared by healthcare.gov. While overall ACA enrollments appear to be down by as much as one-third, HealthSherpa enrollments are up by nearly 50 percent.
Here are highlights:
- Total enrollments up 48 percent from OEP18.
- Median net premiums are down 34 percent — more than half of HealthSherpa customers are paying $30 or less per month for quality, affordable coverage.
- Shoppers continue to gravitate toward Silver plans (74 percent of all enrollments), which are comparable in quality and coverage to employer-offered health insurance.
- In addition to low net premiums, 85 percent of HealthSherpa customers also qualified for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), which help reduce their out-of-pocket costs.
- Women enroll as head-of-household on 55 percent of all applications nationwide.
- Florida leads all states in total enrollments, with nearly 30,000 enrolled — 3 times the number of enrollments during the same 24-day measurement period during OEP18.
- Not only is Florida leading all enrollments, but Floridians are enrolling at a rate double that of the next closest state, Texas, compared to total state population.
- Other high-enrollment states include North Carolina and Utah.
Note to Media: We can provide state, city, and zip-code level data for the categories shown in this document for healthcare.gov states where HealthSherpa offers ACA-subsidized policies.
Year-Over-Year Change in Key Enrollment Metrics
- HealthSherpa Enrollment Volume: Up 48% (2018: 99,295 vs. 2017: 147,317)
- Total Call Volume: Down 4%
- Median Net Premium: Down 34% (2018: $30 vs. 2017: $46)
- Median Gross Premium: Down 6% (2018: $852 vs. 2017: $803)
- Median Subsidy: Down 2% (2018: $723 vs. 2017: $707)
- Median Income: Down 1% (2018: $21,500 vs. 2017: $21,000)
- Average Applicants Per Policy: Up 2% (2018: 1.45 vs. 2017: 1.48)
Notes from George Kalogeropoulos, HealthSherpa CEO:
- We continue to be intrigued by the similarities and differences in what we’re seeing on HealthSherpa this year versus what is happening with healthcare.gov enrollments overall. The dynamic of publicly subsidized coverage and private enterprise to connect individuals with that coverage is one of the more organic and unintended consequences of the ACA — and it is a dynamic that works in favor of consumers.
- While we haven’t seen median net premium costs gained by those enrolling directly through HealthSherpa, we have found that ours are significantly lower than last year due in part to several factors, including lower median income and higher average applicants per policy. These factors, combined with the ability to easily find the least expensive plan through HealthSherpa, are likely contributing to lower overall costs for consumers.
- We have found that a smart, data-driven user experience presented in an easy-to-navigate way gives people confidence that they’re making the right choices for themselves and their families. That may be driving our numbers and our Net-Promoter Score of 59, which is well above the industry average for health insurance.
- We also continue to be interested in the dynamic of “red state enrollments.” As we noted previously, a 2017 UC Berkeley study found that those who identify as politically conservative were 20% more likely to enroll using HealthSherpa than they were using healthcare.gov. Such attitudes may extend to brokers and health insurance carriers, which use HealthSherpa as opposed to healthcare.gov directly for its user experience and tracking tools.
- We are also proud of our partnerships with nonprofit organizations committed to helping Americans find quality, affordable coverage. With more budget cuts to ACA marketing efforts this year, the commitment put forth by these groups has been critical in ensuring those who qualify for coverage get it.
- Finally, it’s worth noting that the first few weeks of enrollment — through Thanksgiving weekend — is typically OEP’s “slow period.” These next three weeks are when we will see the real enrollment activity kick into high gear.