The second open enrollment period to buy health insurance through the marketplace runs through Feb. 15, 2015.
HealthCare.gov — the site used by Michiganders — is working much better than last year. The website and enrollment process have been enhanced and now feature faster performance, a shorter application, and easier access via mobile devices.
HHS said more than 1 million people across the U.S. submitted applications during the first week of open enrollment. More than 462,000 people selected health plans. Of that number, 48 percent were new enrollees and 52 percent were renewals. State-level data will be released in December.
Renew your plan by Dec. 15
While many consumers who bought plans in 2014 will be auto-enrolled in coverage for 2015, it’s better to shop around again for the upcoming year. In Michigan, you have more policy options and insurers than in 2014. Subsidy amounts are different for 2015, and most premiums have changed, too. Visit HealthCare.gov to update your information and see if a new plan is the best choice for you in 2015.
Insurers and rates on 2015 exchange
Sixteen insurers are selling policies through the Michigan exchange for 2015 coverage, up from 12 in 2014 according to HHS. All insurers that participated in 2014 stayed in the marketplace for 2015, and four carriers are new.
Analysis conducted by the University of Michigan Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation shows 2015 premiums are lower in 56 of 83 counties. However, the 27 counties where premiums are higher account for almost 70 percent of the state’s population.
Data gathered by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows an average increase of 3.6 percent for plans sold both on and off the marketplace. While the average increase is small, the range of premium changes is wide: -21.8 percent to 18.3 percent.
2014 enrollment recap
During 2014 open enrollment, Michigan was the sixth most successful marketplace with 37.6 percent of eligible residents signing up for a qualified health plan.
More than 272,500 Michigan residents signed up for qualified health plans. Eighty-seven percent qualified for financial assistance, compared to 85 percent nationally. An HHS report shows the average monthly premium, after tax credits, for Michigan consumers as $97. Thirty-nine percent of enrollees pay $50 or less per month after subsidies.
Thirteen percent of Michigan residents selected a bronze plan (20 percent nationally), 75 percent selected a silver plan (65 percent nationally), 9 percent selected a gold plan (9 percent nationally), 2 percent selected a platinum plan (5 percent nationally) and 2 percent selected a catastrophic plan (2 percent nationally). Twenty-eight percent of Michigan enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34.
Background on Michigan’s exchange efforts
Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, supported a state-run exchange for Michigan. However, he did not have the support of enough fellow Republicans to move ahead.
The Michigan attorney general joined 25 other states in challenging the Affordable Care Act. The Senate passed a bill to authorize a state-run exchange, but bill was voted down by the House’s Health Policy committee and didn’t get a floor vote.
Eventually, the state moved ahead with a state-federal partnership. Michigan is responsible for plan management, but left all other functions to the federal government.
Michigan health insurance exchange links
Statewide network of non-profit agencies providing free enrollment support services to health insurance consumers