With the relief of open enrollment 2014 coming to a close also came the analysis: Had open enrollment been a success?
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to analyzing and reporting national health issues, released a study answering some key questions about the period’s success. While the tax penalty for not complying with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual responsibility requirement was the greater of $95 for an individual or 1% of the individual’s income1
According to the Kaiser Family study, cost was unsurprisingly a major factor in plan choice. The study paid particular attention to the uninsured of California, as it was the state with the most uninsured prior to the implementation of the ACA, and there we find a modest success story. Of the uninsured in California, 58% reported gaining coverage for 2014 during open enrollment. On average across the nation, the majority reported the process of shopping and enrolling for coverage taking one to three hours. It also states that two-thirds of Americans who purchased coverage through the exchange reported spending time online, but many also spent time on the phone or in person with someone helping them.
One of the most pertinent lessons we can learn from this study is that outreach is extremely important. Sixty-nine percent of previously uninsured Californians who were contacted by phone, mail, email, text, or door-to-door visits gained coverage, as opposed to only fifty-two percent who were not contacted.2
No matter your political stance, the statistics don’t lie. As we look to open enrollment in 2015, eyes will likely turn to the performance of the exchanges as the pundits prepare for round two. However, an analysis like the Kaiser Family Foundation’s is the true story of open enrollment’s success and failures.
1Luhby, Tammy. "Uninsured next Year? Here's Your Obamacare Penalty." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 13 Aug. 2013. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.
2 Norton, Mira, Bianca DiJulio, and Mollyann Brodie. "Data Note: Gearing Up For Round 2 of Open Enrollment: Some Lessons From Round 1." KFF.org. Kaiser Family Foundation, 04 Nov. 2014. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.