By Carla Anderson
April 1, 2014
March 31 was the last day to apply for private health insurance coverage for 2014. However, consumers who started applications on HealthCare.gov by the deadline and self-reported they weren’t able to finish have until April 15 to complete enrollment. The extension is available in Delaware and all other states using HealthCare.gov for enrollment.
Enrollment for Medicaid or CHIP continues throughout the year.
Individuals who remain uninsured after March may face a tax penalty of $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.
Choose Health Delaware is the state’s health insurance marketplace, which is operated in partnership with the federal government. Under the partnership model, Delaware has regulatory oversight of health plans operating on the exchange and handles consumer outreach functions. The federal government is responsible for determining who is eligible to purchase insurance and who qualifies for subsidies, enrolling eligible consumers, and operating the marketplace website and call center.
As of Feb. 28, nearly 7,000 Delaware residents had enrolled in private health plans and 2,168 qualified for Medicaid. Delaware set a goal of enrolling 35,000 people during the first open enrollment period. That target was set in 2010. In September 2013, the federal government estimated just 8,000 Delawareans would sign up in the first year. Landgraf, citing the problems with HealthCare.gov in October and November that severely hampered enrollment, acknowledged that the final figure for 2014 open enrollment will likely be much closer to the federal estimate.
Through the first five months of enrollment, Delaware residents showed a greater preference for higher premium/lower deductible plans than the national average. In Delaware, 23 percent selected gold plans and 8 percent selected platinum plans; nationally, the figures are 11 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Seventy-nine percent of people in Delaware who enrolled in a health plan qualified for financial assistance, compared to 83 percent nationally.
In Delaware 73 marketplace guides and navigators are helping individuals obtain coverage. Assistance is available at facilities operated by Brandywine Women’s Health Associates, Christiana Care, the Delmarva Foundation and Westside Family Healthcare.
Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Coventry are offering 19 health plan options for individuals and families through the marketplace in Delaware. According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the average cost for a bronze plan —the lowest-cost option — in Delaware is $308 a month. The national average for a bronze policy is $249 a month.
While several states adopted a partnership exchange as an incremental step toward an eventual state-run exchange, Delaware is unlikely to go that route according Rita Landgraf, cabinet secretary of the state Health and Social Services department. Delaware may, however, consider a regional partnership in the future, whereby the state would partner with one or more other states. A regional partnership would spread administrative cost over a wider population and increase the size of the risk pool.
Choose Health Delaware
Health Benefit Exchange information
Exchange information from the Delaware Health Care Commission
State Exchange Profile: Delaware
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Delaware’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Let your Delaware governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.Delaware Governor Jack Markell