Kansas State University


Issues in Health Reform

Where are we now that open enrollment has closed?

It’s been a busy few months as we reached the ACA enrollment deadline.  There are lots of reports of how many are actually enrolled (about 8 million with the latest report).  The White House also announced that 35% of those who signed up for coverage were under 35. Twenty-eight percent are between the ages of 18 and 34, falling just shy of the administration’s 40% target. This demographic is needed to keep premium levels down, and to offset the costs of insuring older, and likely sicker, enrollees.
As importantly there have been several recent surveys showing that the rates of the uninsured are dropping.  For a good summary of those reports and explanations of what they mean see http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2014/4/17/surveys-highlight-acas-effect-on-us-uninsured-rate
Because some consumers will be eligible for special enrollment periods and KanCare enrollment is year-round, we expect to see the insured rate increase over time. We will be sure to pass along the most recent data on the number of Kansas’s successful enrollments as they are made available – so stay tuned!
There are important questions to be answered and I suspect we will see research trying to answer these in the coming months:
•    Who is still uninsured?
–    What are their options?
–    What will states do re Medicaid expansion?
•    Who is now uninsured who was previously insured?
–    Some very high cost counties, region and age
–    What happened with cancellations? Who was affected? Is new option better?
–    Did mandate work consistently across populations?
•    Is insurance affordable?  In whose terms? And through time (are premiums rising more or less than before?)
•    Has more insurance led to better health outcomes for individuals?  How has it affected community vitality?

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