States See High Levels Of Re-Enrollment In Marketplace Health Plans

A study of six states shows they effectively re-enrolled insurance marketplace customers in large numbers, in spite of challenges helping consumers balance convenience and health plan affordability. The study, prepared by researchers at Georgetown University with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, uses enrollment data and stakeholder interviews to identify the challenges, successes, and lessons learned from the second year of open enrollment.

Among the six states studied—California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Washington, all of which operate their own marketplace—the study authors found enrollee retention to be high. They also found surprising levels of enrollees shopping within the marketplaces during the 2015 open enrollment period (i.e., consumers switching plans based on price or services offered). Challenges included re-determining consumers’ eligibility for tax credits based on income changes, technology glitches with marketplace websites, and how to best communicate with consumers about re-enrolling.

Despite these challenges and the added pressure of signing up new enrollees, the authors note that states were largely successful in retaining consumers from 2014, but will need to improve their renewal processes in order to meet their long-term enrollment goals.

“No re-enrollment strategy is perfect, but despite using different methods, all of these states experienced high retention rates in their marketplaces,” said Kathy Hempstead, who directs coverage issues at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “It suggests that the most salient factors are the competitiveness of the market and the high value that consumers place on being covered.”  

To speak with an expert about the report, please contact Frank Walsh at [email protected] or 202-745-5110.


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