State-run health insurance exchanges struggle to find enrollees

online health insurance technology exchange

Enrollment in state-run exchange is going down, study shows

A new study from Avalere Health and the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that enrollment in state-run health insurance exchanges is lackluster. Several states opted to operate their own health insurance exchanges, which gave them more control over their respective insurance markets, but others decided to allow the federal government to build and manage these exchanges. The study shows that enrollment in state-run exchanges has been falling, while enrollment in federal exchanges has managed to increase.

Study highlights a 12% decrease in the enrollment in state-run exchanges

The study shows that state’s that operated their own health insurance exchanges saw an average 12% decrease in their enrollment. Federal exchanges, however, saw a 61% increase in enrollment during the 2014-2015 open enrollment period. The study notes that 11 states throughout the country have chosen to operate their own exchanges, with 34 opting to let the federal government run these marketplaces. Why state-run exchanges did so poorly in terms of enrollment is not entirely clear.

Lack of marketing and awareness may be hindering enrollment numbers

online health insurance technology exchangeOne of the factor that may have affected low enrollment rates in state-run exchanges could be awareness, or lack thereof. Though exchanges have been serving consumers since 2013, many people are still not aware of the services that these exchanges offer and the types of coverage they can receive through exchanges. States have also failed to market their exchanges effectively, which could be affecting enrollment numbers. Some states have also had difficulties working with companies that were responsible for developing their exchange infrastructure, which has made some exchange marketplaces difficult for consumers to use.

Expanded Medicaid programs may be more attractive than health insurance exchanges

While state-run exchanges have struggled to enroll people, an increasing amount of consumers are finding coverage through their state’s expanded Medicaid program. The states that have opted to run their own exchanges have also expanded Medicaid, making it more accessible to a wider range of people. Consumers may be taking advantage of the health insurance coverage they can find through Medicaid rather than enrolling in exchanges.

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