Tag Archives: marketplaces

Site tracks, predicts state-by-state marketplace enrollments

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Here’s a fun – and helpful – site for tracking enrollment and trying to get a sense of where it’s heading.

Charles Gaba – aka the ACASignups guy – runs a great website called, of course, ACASignups.net. He isn’t doing the doing the elaborate modeling and forecasting of Nate Silver during campaigns – and he isn’t really comfortable with the comparisons. But it’s still the closest thing we have to a state-by-state real-time Affordable Care Act enrollment tracker.

Here’s the graph, which is part of the site but not the whole site. Here’s his nine-state track of how many people who signed up in an exchange plan have paid their premium – about 81 percent, though it’s not a full national picture. Continue reading

Lieberman: Media didn’t prepare public for website meltdown, cancellations

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

(Full disclosure: Kenen is Politico’s health care editor.)

Former AHCJ president and Columbia Journalism Review contributor Trudy Lieberman – in a wonderfully titled piece called “Dropped Coverage” – analyzed media coverage of the Affordable Care Act for the new Politico magazine.

She found that plenty was … dropped. Continue reading

Calculator caution: Using online tools outside marketplaces can be unreliable

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

calculatorYou have all probably gotten some emails about this website or that app that can give costs of various health plans in the new insurance exchanges. I’ve seen some that list plans county by county. People may be tempted by these easy tools because, on the surface, they look like a way around that pesky HealthCare.gov or some of the balkier state exchanges.

But there’s a problem. (There’s also a solution that I’ll get to, but keep reading.) The information on most of these plans is very general. And it’s “sticker” prices. Some don’t take into account the subsidies or other particular family circumstances. And that sticker price may produce enough “sticker shock” that people are scared off and don’t find out what they would actually pay, particularly if they are eligible for subsidies. Some of the calculators don’t include age, either, and that does affect what people will pay.

Nor do the calculators always produce the same estimated cost. I tried two different ones using the same information about a family I had spoken to in California. I got very different results – thousands of dollars different. Neither was close to what the family found when they did get on the California exchange. (In this case, the family’s costs did go up.)

The Arizona Republic did a consumer-focused story about the calculators in which they urged consumers to get on the real sites (which are – slowly – improving) and find out what the precise costs are for their unique family circumstances. Continue reading

Online tool uses state, federal data to track marketplace enrollments

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

The federal government plans to release exchange enrollment figures once a month (here’s the first report), and they’re expected to give more demographic information (i.e. age, metal tier) in future updates. States have different timetables for releasing their statistics. To keep track of it all, the Kaiser Family Foundation has a new tool: the State Marketplace Statistics.

It has both the enrollment numbers as well as some other key stats to  watch (when available):

  • Completed applications
  • Eligibility determinations, including how many people can enroll in a marketplace plan with financial assistance and how many qualify for Medicaid/CHIP
  • How many have selected a plan

Rural areas pose challenges for insurance marketplaces

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

AHCJ webcastAn estimated 60 million Americans live in rural areas of the United States. How these Americans use the new insurance marketplaces could be the key to success (or failure) of the Affordable Care Act.

This is an issue our panelists will address on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m. Eastern, when AHCJ hosts a webcast, “How will rural Americans tap into the insurance marketplaces?”

Each state is wrestling with issues related to enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces. For journalists in the 29 states that the federal government considers to be mostly rural, the issue of how many residents enroll will be particularly important to follow in the coming months.

Our panelists (Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky; Jim Doyle, who covers the business of health care for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; and Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association) will address this issue among others during the one-hour webcast. Reporters will have plenty of time to ask questions of the panelists. Continue reading