Healthcare Business News
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York surpasses goal for private health plan signups

By Paul Demko
Posted: February 11, 2014 - 5:15 pm ET

More than 250,000 New Yorkers have signed up for private health plans through the state's insurance exchange. That easily surpasses the goal of 218,000 by the end of the open enrollment period on March 31 that was outlined in a September memo from the CMS (PDF).

In total, more than 400,000 residents have obtained coverage since New York State of Health opened for business on Oct. 1. That includes roughly 160,000 individuals who were determined to be eligible for Medicaid.

Roughly two thirds of the individuals who signed up for coverage through New York's exchange—whether Medicaid or a commercial plan—were uninsured at the time they filled out an application. That's a far higher ratio than most estimates nationwide, although precise figures have been largely unavailable. A McKinsey & Co. study, reported on last month by the Wall Street Journal, found that just 11% of individuals purchasing private plans were previously uninsured.

Enrollment through the New York marketplace continues at brisk pace. More than 31,000 individuals signed up for coverage in just the last week, according to exchange officials.

The enrollment picture is considerably less positive in Maryland, which also recently released updated figures (PDF). As of Feb. 1, fewer than 30,000 individuals had signed up for private plans. That's just 20% of the March 31 target laid out by the CMS. In addition, more than 140,000 Maryland residents have received coverage through Medicaid since Jan. 1.

Maryland's exchange has been plagued by technological problems. State officials are currently weighing options about changes that could be made for the 2015 open enrollment period, which begins on Nov. 15. That could include partnering with the federal government to deliver better service.

Both Maryland and New York are among roughly half the states that have opted to expand Medicaid to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty threshold.

Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko

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