January 16, 2019

After extending enrollment, Access Health signs up thousands more

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Access Health CT CEO James Michel

Access Health CT, the state's Affordable Care Act exchange for health insurance plans, signed up approximately 4,600 more residents during a now concluded one-month extension of its open enrollment period, its chief executive said during a radio appearance Wednesday.

In an interview with WNPR's Diane Orson, Access Health CEO James Michel said the sixth annual enrollment period concluded Jan. 15, with "over 110,000 signed up for commercial health plans.

Update: On Thursday, Access Health posted exact numbers on its website, saying it had enrolled a total of 111,066 people.

That's below the 114,134 people that enrolled a year earlier, but higher than the total Access Health had reported last month, with one day remaining in the regularly scheduled open enrollment period.

Access Health decided to extend open enrol11nt into mid-January due to concerns that consumers might be confused by a Texas judge's ruling seen as potentially detrimental to the ACA.

Michel said various factors may help explain 2019's approximately 3.5 percent drop in enrollment, including Congress' decision in late 2017 to stop fining consumers who don't buy health insurance. That provision takes effect this year.

Changes in Access Health's plan offerings and an improved economy -- which could mean more people getting insurance through an employer -- also may have played a role, he said.

Access Health's board of directors is scheduled to convene Thursday morning to discuss the enrollment results.

This story has been updated to include a precise enrollment count provided by Access Health after publication

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect total for the number of people Access Health enrolled during its month-long extension period.

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