Health insurance in Delaware
- COVID-related enrollment window continues through August 15, 2021 (no qualifying event necessary)
- Delaware’s health insurance marketplace is a partnership between the state and HHS, with residents enrolling through Healthcare.gov.
- Short-term health insurance plans are available in Delaware with initial plan terms up to three months.
- One insurer offers coverage through the Delaware health insurance marketplace .
- The average individual-market premium dropped by 19% in 2020, thanks in large part to the state’s new reinsurance program, and dropped again, by 1%, for 2021.
- More than 25,000 enrolled in 2021 coverage through the Delaware health insurance marketplace during open enrollment.
- Delaware implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion in 2014.
- Medicare enrollees comprise about 22% of the state’s population.
This page is dedicated to helping consumers quickly find health insurance resources in the state of Delaware. Here, you’ll find information about the many types of health insurance coverage available. You can find the basics of the Delaware health insurance marketplace, including details about open enrollment, special enrollment periods, and the COVID-related enrollment period that continues through August 15, 2021. We’ve also included a brief overview of Medicaid expansion in Delaware; a quick look at short-term health insurance availability in the state; details about state-specific Medicare rules; as well as a collection of health insurance resources for Delaware residents.
Delaware’s health insurance marketplace
Delaware’s health insurance marketplace/exchange is a place for people to enroll in health insurance if they’re not eligible for Medicare or employed by a company that offers employer-sponsored health benefits. The marketplace offers enrollment in individual/family health plans (ie, self-purchased) as well as Medicaid (some forms of Medicaid coverage are obtained directly from the state Medicaid office instead).
Delaware’s health insurance marketplace, Choose Health Delaware, is operated in partnership with the federal government, which means that people use HealthCare.gov, the federally-run enrollment website, to enroll in individual/family health insurance plans in Delaware. Given the state’s small population, state officials deemed this model as most financially prudent.
25,320 people enrolled in medical insurance plans through Delaware’s health insurance marketplace during the open enrollment period for 2021 coverage.
Highmark is the only insurer that offers plans in Delaware’s exchange. Highmark’s average premiums dropped by 19% for 2020, thanks in large part to the state’s new reinsurance program. Average premiums decreased again in 2021, but only by about 1%.
Delaware expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and residents with low and modest incomes can enroll in Medicaid through the health insurance marketplace if they’re eligible.
Read our full overview of the Delaware health insurance marketplace.
When can I enroll in health insurance in Delaware?
Enrollment rules are different in 2021, due to the ongoing COVID pandemic and the newly enhanced premium subsidies created by the American Rescue Plan. Although enrollment outside of the fall enrollment period (November 1 to December 15) normally requires a qualifying event, there is a COVID-related enrollment window that continues through August 15, 2021.
During this window, which does not require a qualifying event, uninsured residents can sign up for coverage, people with off-exchange coverage can switch to on-exchange coverage, and current exchange enrollees can switch plans in order to better take advantage of the larger premium subsidies.
Medicaid expansion in Delaware
Delaware is among the states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, effective as of January 2014 (half the states expanded Medicaid at that point; several others have expanded Medicaid coverage since then, but there are still 14 that have not expanded Medicaid as of early 2021).
But enrollment in Delaware’s Medicaid plans and CHIP is only about 11% higher than it was in the fall of 2013, before Medicaid expansion took effect (as opposed to a nationwide average of 35% higher). But Delaware’s average household income is higher than the U.S. average, so relatively few people in the state are eligible for Medicaid.
Enrollment in Medicaid plans and CHIP continues throughout the year. Visit the Delaware Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance website for information about the state Medicaid program and the Delaware Healthy Children Program.
Read more about Medicaid coverage expansion in Delaware.
Short-term health insurance in Delaware
Delaware limits short-term health insurance plans to three months in duration, and prohibits renewals.
Read more about short-term health insurance in Delaware.
Delaware health ratings
In 2019, the Scorecard on State Health System Performance ranked Delaware 27th in the nation for overall health. See Delaware’s scorecard for the state’s performance for a detailed look at its performance. Low percentages of uninsured adults and children and few at-risk adults without a routine doctor visit in the past two years were among positive indicators.
The 2019 edition of America’s Health Rankings put Delaware in 30th place. While a relatively low uninsured rate and strong public health funding bolstered Delaware’s overall ranking, several measures placed in the bottom half.
You can see county-level health rankings for Delaware from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin.
How has Obamacare helped Delaware?
Delaware already had a lower-than-average uninsured rate prior to ACA implementation, with 9.1% of the state’s population uninsured in 2013 (as opposed to 14.5% nationwide). By 2018, the uninsured rate in the state had dropped to 5.7%, according to US Census data, although it increased to 6.6% in 2019 (the uninsured rate increased nationwide under the Trump administration; Delaware is not unique in terms of this increase).
As of 2020, there were more than 22,000 Delaware residents with private healthcare coverage through the state’s exchange. Most of these enrollees — more than 19,000 — were receiving premium subsidies that reduce their monthly premium costs and make coverage more accessible and affordable. And everyone with ACA-compliant plans (including all of the exchange enrollees, as well as people with off-exchange coverage and small business health coverage that took effect since 2014) has coverage for the ACA’s essential health benefits without any lifetime or annual caps on the benefits.
Medicare coverage and enrollment in Delaware
Medicare, a program run by the federal government, currently covers more than 63 million aged and disabled Americans. 217,211 Delaware residents were enrolled in Medicare as of January 2021, amounting to about 22% of Delaware’s population. Of the state’s Medicare beneficiaries, 86% qualify based on age alone (ie, being at least 65) while 14 percent qualify due to a disability.
Delaware residents can enroll in private Medicare Advantage plans instead of Original Medicare. But fewer than one in five Delaware Medicare Beneficiaries is enrolled in Medicare Advantage, versus about 40% nationwide.
More than three-quarters of Delaware’s Medicare beneficiaries have Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage — mostly in the form of stand-alone drug plans, but some have Part D coverage integrated with their Medicare Advantage plans.
Delaware health insurance resources
- Delaware Healthy Children Program
- Delaware Department of Insurance (oversees and regulates the companies that provide health insurance in Delaware, as well as the agents and brokers who sell health coverage in the state).
- Delaware Medical Assistance Portal (Medicaid coverage for various low-income populations in Delaware who need assistance with their healthcare costs)
- Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (free advice and information for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers)
- Medicare Rights Center (a nationwide website and call center that can provide a variety of advice and assistance related to Medicare)
Health reform legislation in Delaware
Scroll to the bottom of this page for a summary of recent state-level health reform legislation.
Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.