CHARLESTON, W.Va.- Registrations outside West Virginia in the health insurance market created under the Federal Affordable Care Act continue to decline.
During the open membership period for coverage to begin on January 1, 2020, a total of 20,166 Mountain State residents purchased or were automatically re-enrolled in Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield or CareSource health insurance plans, registration figures showed.
For 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported a total of 22,599 registrations, down from 27,000 West Virginia enrolled in exchange health insurance programs for 2018, which was also down from in previous years.
However, Ellen Potter, director of health policy for the West Virginia offices of the Insurance Commissioner, said there was reason to be optimistic.
“At least it seems to be somewhat stable. It has changed less between these years than every year, so maybe we are starting to have a more stable market, ”she said.
“Some of these people got – probably – jobs with group benefits or some people got old in Medicare. Many West Virginians, we are an older state, so it happens too. “
Transitions to Medicaid were also possible due to job losses.
Others may not be insured.
There is no longer a tax penalty for not having health insurance in the United States, a change from the original ACA language.
Among those registered for 2019, data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid showed that an average of 19,615 people registered. In other words, they paid their coverage premiums for at least the first six months of 2019.
A total of 90 percent of these people have received grants, CMS reported.
For the other ten percent, “The plans are expensive and they also have the highest deductibles to pay,” said Potter.
“Those who receive the grants, their actual payment does not change much from year to year unless they change the plan they have.”
In 2019, the average monthly premium in West Virginia for health insurance purchased through the exchange was $ 931.02 per registrant, while the average subsidy, or advanced premium tax credit, per registered was $ 765.06.
“The subsidy is based on our premiums. Each region of the state has eleven scoring areas, and the grant is based on the second lowest cash cost plan, so in the United States everything would be different, “said Potter.
“So our rates are a little higher, but our subsidies are also higher.”
Nationally, the average monthly trade premiums were $ 593.29 per month while the average grants were $ 513.91.
West Virginia is one of 38 states using Healthcare.gov as the registration platform.
Other states have state exchanges.
For 2020, CareSource proposed plans in 44 counties in Mountain State, while Highmark was in each county.
Nationally, the number of registrations for 2020 was almost 8.3 million, which was slightly lower than in 2019. In general, there were more new registrants and fewer renewals, showed the registration figures.
A more detailed registration report for 2020 was to be published in March.
The registration period for exchanges, initially scheduled from November 1 to December 15, 2019, has been extended until December 18, 2019 due to registration problems during the closing hours of the established period.