By Carla Anderson
April 21, 2014
The open enrollment period to purchase health insurance for 2014 through the marketplace has ended. People who get married or divorced, change jobs, have a child or experience another qualifying event may be eligible for a special enrollment period. Enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues throughout the year. You may be able to buy private insurance outside the marketplace. Individuals who don’t have health insurance that provides “minimum essential coverage” may have to pay a penalty: $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.
Open enrollment for 2015 coverage through the marketplace begins Nov. 15.
Signups for private health insurance plans grew by about 12,000 during February, reaching 45,561 as of March 1. While Louisiana is not expanding its Medicaid program, about 9,000 people who visited the marketplace qualified for either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under existing eligibility criteria.
Demographics for Louisiana enrollees are similar to those seen nationally. Among Louisiana residents selecting a private health plan, 87 percent qualified for financial assistance, which is 4 points higher than the national figure. Seventeen percent of Louisianans selected a bronze plan (18 percent nationally), 63 percent selected a silver plan (63 percent nationally), 11 percent selected a gold plan (11 percent nationally), 8 percent selected a platinum plan (6 percent nationally) and 1 percent selected a catastrophic plan (1 percent nationally). Twenty-nine percent of enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34.
Louisiana is among the 26 states that left all responsibility for its health insurance marketplace to the federal government. Gov. Bobby Jindal repeatedly rejected a state-run exchange and even returned a $1 million federal planning grant.
Jindal also rejected Medicaid expansion in the state, a decision that leaves 34 percent of uninsured Louisiana adults in the coverage gap — neither qualifying for Medicaid nor eligible for subsidies to purchase insurance through marketplace. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 866,000 Louisiana residents are uninsured and almost 242,000 of them are shut out of both Medicaid and subsidies to purchase insurance through the marketplace.
Five insurers offered individual and family policies through the marketplace for 2014: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Coventry, Humana, Louisiana Health Cooperative, and Vantage. Louisiana Health Cooperative is a new is a new consumer operated and oriented plan (CO-OP), formed by formed by Ochsner Health System and other groups. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Louisiana Health Cooperative and Vantage are selling policies through small business (SHOP) exchange. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees can use the SHOP for 2014; the Affordable Care Act calls for opening the SHOP to larger employers in future years.
State Exchange Profile: Louisiana
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Louisiana’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Louisiana Department of Insurance, Office of Health Insurance
Assists consumers who have purchased insurance on the individual market or who have insurance through an employer who only does business in Louisiana.
(225) 219-4770 / Toll Free: (800) 259-5301
Let your Louisiana governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal