How Many Missourians Have Gotten Coverage Through The Exchange? Insurers Keep Mum
As the problems mount at HealthCare.Gov, the question of how many people have been able to actually enroll is becoming a larger and larger issue. Apparently in North Dakota — which has a federally run exchange like Missouri — you can count the number of successful applications on your hands and toes. [Emphasis mine.]
Twenty North Dakotans have enrolled for health insurance through the new federal health exchange, according to figures from the three North Dakota companies offering coverage on the marketplace.
The online marketplace at healthcare.gov, where health insurance is sold, is a key aspect of the health insurance law signed by President Barack Obama commonly known as Obamacare. It has been plagued by traffic issues and widespread glitches since it went live about three weeks ago.
So far, there have been no reports of the enrollment numbers in Missouri, at least to my knowledge. I have reached out to the insurers who are in the Missouri exchange and hit a brick wall when it comes to actual numbers. HHS records suggest there are technically four insurance providers in the Missouri exchange: two affiliated with Blue Cross Blue Shield, and two affiliated with Coventry. (Because affiliates don’t really compete with one another, consumers are effectively left with only two insurer options in each county, in general.) Both Blue Cross affiliates — Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City — said that they will not be releasing their numbers. I have yet to receive a return call from either Coventry affiliate.
While we wait, the email I received from Anthem is below. It pretty well summarizes the position of Blue Cross.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri’s parent company has just begun to receive confirmation of enrollment in the federal exchanges from CMS. Although it is too soon to provide Missouri enrollment details at this time, we have seen unprecedented call volumes and heavy web traffic for our exchange plans which is consistent with the experience reported by some state exchanges. We believe consumers will continue to be attracted to our trusted brand name and quality product offerings on the exchanges.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Missouri
Naturally, “volume” and “web traffic” aren’t “enrollment,” so it looks like the actual enrollment figures will remain unknown. Why insurers are so unwilling to release the numbers is a subject of considerable speculation, but if Thursday’s movement toward a delay of the individual mandate is any indication, North Dakota’s enrollment experience may not be unique.