Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado’s state-run marketplace for medical and dental insurance recently released its record numbers for the first open-enrollment period of 2017. These record-setting enrollment numbers were encouraging to Connect for Health Colorado, even at a time when the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains in limbo.
“The steady growth we have seen in each of our open enrollment periods shows we are making valuable progress in providing affordable health insurance to a growing number of individuals and families in Colorado,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson in a statement on the new figures. Patterson is closely watching the events unfolding in Washington and has publicly stated that they would try to keep Colorado’s exchange active even if the ACA is repealed, but for now, the numbers for Colorado’s health exchange continue to grow.
The first open-enrollment period for Connect for Health recently ended on February 3rd, with a record 175,964 individuals signing up to renew their plan, or to find health coverage. The record number is a 25% increase from the 150,000 signups Connect for Health had during the first open-enrollment period of 2016. Nearly three-quarters of those signing up for plans on Connect for Health Colorado were previous exchange customers and two-thirds of those customers qualify for some type of financial assistance.
The numbers coming from Colorado’s health exchange don’t coincide with overall national trends. Open-enrollment sign ups at Healthcare.gov, the federal site for plans for states that don’t have their own exchanges, peaked at 9.2 million, down 4 percent from the 9.6 million that signed up for coverage during the same period on 2016. Other states with their own exchanges were a mixed bag, California saw a 3% decrease in signups while both New York and Washington state saw double-digit percentage hikes in their respective states.
Supporters of the ACA blame the Trump administration’s pulling of health exchange ads during the open-enrollment period as a factor in declining sign-ups for some states. While the ACA hangs in the balance with the new congress and administration, the nation’s health exchanges continue to sign up new and returning members.