By Louise Norris
March 30, 2014
Open enrollment in North Dakota ends on March 31. But HHS is allowing an extension for applicants who begin the process by that date, but are unable to complete their enrollment by the end of the day on March 31. The extension is expected to be valid until mid-April, and applicants will have to attest to the fact that they tried to enroll by March 31 but were unable to finish because of technical problems or other extenuating circumstances.
After five months of open enrollment, North Dakota had the lowest enrollment total in the nation. 5,238 people had finalized their plan selections by March 1. An additional 4,812 people had been found to be eligible for Medicaid through the ND exchange. Enrollment is expected to be lower in sparsely-populated North Dakota, and will likely surge slightly in the final days of open enrollment.
Three insurers are participating in the North Dakota exchange: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, Medica and Sanford. Enrollees have an average of 24 plans from which to choose. As of the first week in January, BCBS had enrolled nearly 1000 new members, and Sanford had enrolled 92.
Prices are slightly higher in the North Dakota exchange than the national average. Health insurance carriers are conducting workshops and outreach sessions to help people learn about their options under the ACA. There are also 17 navigators in ND who are working to educate the public about the policies and subsidies available in the exchange. The state got about $1 million in federal funding to spend on ACA outreach.
Following President Obama’s announcement in November that existing policies could be renewed into 2014 at the discretion of states and carriers, North Dakota’s Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm decided to go along with the president’s policy cancellation “fix” and urged carriers to provide an option to renew some 36,000 individual policies that had been scheduled to terminate at the end of the year. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota – the state’s largest insurer – opted in December not to renew policies that had been scheduled for termination. Their insureds can either switch to a new ACA compliant BCBS plan, or purchase new coverage from another carrier.
The North Dakota House of Representative voted against a state-run health insurance exchange in 2011, and Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s administration reiterated that position in November 2012. But North Dakota is expanding its Medicaid program under a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Dalrymple favors the expansion, and the state House approved the measure in February 2012. About 29,000 uninsured people will be eligible for Medicaid under the expanded guidelines, including childless adults.
About 11 percent of North Dakotans are uninsured, according to Kaiser’s statehealthfacts.org.
State Exchange Profile: North Dakota
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of North Dakota’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
North Dakota Insurance Department
Assists people insured by private health plans, Medicaid, or other plans in resolving problems pertaining to their health coverage; assists uninsured residents with access to care.
(701) 328-2440 / Toll Free: 800-247-0560 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Let your North Dakota governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.