HealthSource RI ranks as second most successful exchange, but youth enrollment still low

(Updated, 2:10 p.m.) Recent analysis of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data suggests HealthSource RI may be one of the most successful health care exchanges in the country. More

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HealthSource RI ranks as second most successful exchange, but youth enrollment still low

PBN FILE PHOTO/MIKW SKORSKI
HEALTHSOURCE RI ranked at No. 2 on a New York Times list of the top Obamacare exchanges in terms of percent of third-month enrollment target reached. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island President and CEO Peter Andruszkiewicz, pictured above center, described the latest HealthSource RI enrollment numbers as "progressing" and said it's too early to critique the demographic breakdown of the state's exchange enrollments.
Posted 1/16/14

(Updated, 2:10 p.m.)

PROVIDENCE – Recent analysis of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data suggests HealthSource RI may be one of the most successful health care exchanges in the country.

In a New York Times ranking of the top state- and federally-run health care exchanges in terms of percent of third-month enrollment target reached as of Dec. 28, Rhode Island came in at No. 2, with 9,803 private-plan enrollments, or 174 percent of its three-month target of 5,640 enrollments.

The only state to rank higher was Connecticut, with 36,000 individuals who had selected a private plan, or 232 percent of the state’s target of 15,510 enrollments.

The three-month enrollment targets were devised by HHS for each state before the exchanges launched in October.

The HHS data also provided demographic breakdowns for each state. In Rhode Island, 22 percent of private-plan enrollees were aged 18-34, below the national average of 24 percent. The Ocean State ranked 30th among the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for percentage of enrollees aged 18-34, according to The New York Times. Washington, D.C., topped that list with 44 percent, followed by Massachusetts with 31 percent.

President Barack Obama’s administration has said that 40 percent of enrollees, or 2.7 million out of a total 7 million, would need to be between the ages of 18 and 34 for the national exchange to work.

Although HealthSource RI Executive Director Christine Ferguson has not commented on what percent would be required for the state exchange to be viable, a November report by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council highlighted the risk of adverse selection if not enough young Rhode Islanders enroll through the exchange.

“Healthy, young individuals may forgo insurance while large numbers of older individuals with pre-existing conditions purchase insurance, resulting in a narrow, high-risk pool with higher costs,” the RIPEC report stated.

Dara Chadwick, a spokeswoman for HealthSource RI, told Providence Business News that the HealthSource RI team had set no specific age-related goals for the exchange.

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