Delaware health insurance exchange
Delaware enrollment hampered by federal website
By Carla Anderson
November 18, 2013
Choose Health Delaware is the state’s health insurance marketplace, which is operated as a state-federal partnership. 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.
Unfortunately, the problems with HealthCare.gov have severely impacted enrollment in Delaware. As of Nov. 12, just 136 Delaware residents had enrolled in a health plan through the marketplace. Officials with Choose Health Delaware are hopeful that enrollment will pick up as deadlines for purchasing coverage approach, the performance of Health.gov improves, and as more marketplace guides are certified. Guides help consumers with the enrollment process. In Delaware 51 guides are located at facilities operated by Brandywine Women’s Health Associates, Christiana Care, the Delmarva Foundation and Westside Family Healthcare. Another 55 guides are still working to become certified, a process that was delayed by the government shutdown in October.
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.
The federal government approved Delaware’s plan for a partnership exchange in December 2012. The Delaware Health Care Commission (DHCC), which is part of Health and Social Services department, is overseeing the state’s role in the marketplace. Delaware has received about $13 million in federal grant money to plan and implement its portions of the exchange.
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.
With its small population, Delaware anticipates 35,000 people will be insured through its exchange. The state estimates about 30,000 additional people will qualify for the expanded Medicaid program.
Delaware health insurance exchange links
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.