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CareSource: Obamacare sign ups double in first 10 days

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 11:42 AM
By: Kaitlin Schroeder - Staff Writer

CareSource reports strong sign ups the first week of open enrollment for Affordable Care Act insurance.

The uncertainty about the future of the health law, drop in federal dollars for sign up outreach and the sharp rise in the sticker price of insurance premiums do not appear to have dampened interest during the initial days of open enrollment.

Enrollment runs this year from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

RELATED: What you need to know about Obamacare open enrollment

An official with the Dayton-based insurer that sells health plans in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia stated it had a “robust first week of open enrollment activity.”

“At this time, we are please to announce that we have doubled our total enrollment for 2018 coverage compared to the same time period last year,” stated Steve Ringel, CareSource Ohio Market president. “Early indications are that the shorter enrollment period has not suppressed consumer interest in the Marketplace.”

Ringel said other positive signs include that in previous years more than 90 percent of those who enrolled in CareSource plans did so before the Dec. 15 deadline.

RELATED: Dayton-based CareSource expands amid uncertain times for Obamacare

In Ohio, the sticker price for premiums is up an average of 34 percent, but the actual price for some plans might be much less. 

An analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that in 1,540 counties a hypothetical 40-year-old making $25,000 a year can get a basic “bronze” plan under the ACA next year for zero monthly premium.

It’s partly as a result of administration actions that raised the underlying cost of insurance, leading to higher federal spending for premium subsidies. Bronze plans typically have annual deductibles of $6,000 or more but might be attractive to healthy young people.

This national reports of strong initial sign up activity for the marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Hill reported more than 200,000 people selected a plan during the first day of enrollment, compared to 100,000 last year.

This is a positive sign for the Dayton non-profit health insurer, which took a gamble this year when it expanded its offerings into new counties in Ohio and in other states at a time when other insurance companies were fleeing the exchanges.

RELATED: CareSource, Cleveland Clinic sign long-term contract

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Aetna rocked Ohio’s health insurance marketplace when the two pulled out of the exchange. Each noted how insurers couldn’t be certain that the federal government would continue to make payments to help cover the costs of insurers selling low-cost health plans. Premier Health also announced it would be leaving the exchange.

Then in August, CareSource announced it would sell insurance plans in Paulding County in 2018, restoring ACA coverage to the last bare county in the country.