Surge in healthcare enrollment on Colorado exchange still below goal

7:18 PM, Jan 3, 2014   |    comments
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DENVER - The state's new health insurance exchange saw a boost in enrollees in December, but it will take an even more significant surge for it to meet an internal goal by the end of open enrollment on March 31.

Connect for Health Colorado has helped enroll more than 52,000 Coloradans since October 1, 2013. More than half of the number enrolled in the second half of December. It's a figure that was largely expected as people waited until the final few weeks to make sure they had health insurance for 2014.

The hope is to enroll 133,500 by the end of open enrollment at the end of March. In order to reach that number, Connect for Colorado will have to beat its monthly goals for the next three months by approximately 25 percent.

"The last two weeks of December were significant," said Connect for Health CEO Patty Fontneau on Friday.

Yet she cautioned against focusing too much on the 133,500 figure.

"We set those initial projections to support financial modeling a year ago; since that point in time there have been a number of dramatic things that have happened in the market, and we just never revised them. Now we're held to them, and we're not even doing that badly against them," she told 9NEWS.

In addition, the numbers released this week by Connect for Health Colorado suggest the mix of enrollees continues to lean heavily toward an older demographic. The so-called "young invincibles" represent people between the ages of 18 and 34. The success of the Affordable Health Care will weigh heavily on convincing those people to enroll in large numbers to offset the addition of people with pre-existing conditions as well as older (and frequently sicker) people.

Currently Colorado's mix of enrollees in the 18-34 age range stands at 22 percent of the entire pool. The Kaiser Family Foundation released a study in December which suggested that an optimal mix that wouldn't pressure insurance companies to raise premiums would be closer to 40 percent.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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