More than 200,000 people purchased their 2019 health insurance coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s online health insurance marketplace, during the most recent open enrollment period held Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 of last year, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange recently announced.
“Despite the very real challenges around affordability, enrollment through Washington Healthplanfinder remains relatively steady,” Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, said in a statement. “And while we weathered the storm this year, our consumers were again faced with sharp increases to both premium costs and deductibles. This reversal in growth reflects a serious trend in the growing number of consumers who are unable to find and enroll in affordable health coverage.”
Even with the four percent decrease in total number of enrollments reported from February of 2018, the Exchange saw more than 90 percent of those who selected a 2019 health plan during the open enrollment period make their initial premium payment.
A recent consumer experience survey conducted by the Exchange saw 37 percent of respondents choose “It did not meet my budget” as the reason for canceling their current health insurance coverage during the open enrollment period. More than one-quarter of all respondents also listed “affordability” as an area in need of improvement.
The full breakout of 2019 enrollment reveals that 80 percent of consumers renewed their coverage for 2019, while 20 percent purchased a new health plan. According to the Exchange, this is a significant shift from the previous year’s numbers in which 63 percent of customers renewed coverage versus 37 percent who were new enrollees.
Research also found that the ratio between subsidized and unsubsidized enrollment is identical to 2018, with roughly 65 percent of Washington Healthplanfinder consumers receiving tax credits to help cover the cost of premium payments this year, while the other 35 percent of consumers are not.