Colorado Obamacare enrollment ‘barely half the state’s worst-case projection’
posted at 11:30 am on November 26, 2013 by Guy Benson
Death spiral tremors in the Rockies:
Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act through Colorado’s health insurance exchange is barely half the state’s worst-case projection, prompting demands from exchange board members for better stewardship of public money. The shortfall could compromise the exchange’s “ability to deliver on promises made to Colorado citizens” and threatens the funding stream for the exchange itself, according to board e-mails obtained by The Denver Post in an open records request. The exchange, meant for individuals and small groups buying insurance, had projected a lowest-level mid-November enrollment of 11,108, in a presentation to a board finance committee. The exchange announced Nov. 18 that it had signed up 6,001 Coloradans so far…As federal startup grants taper off under Obamacare funding, the exchange is meant to pay for itself with per-member charges on the private insurance companies offering policies. It needs 136,300 enrollees in 2014 to raise $6.5 million of its $51.4 million expenses. Significant operational issues are not being addressed in the wake of bumpy local and national startups for Obamacare, said board member Ellen Daehnick, whose e-mails and comments are sharply critical of board leadership.
But at least one element of Colorado’s sign-up drive is right on target:
Medicaid said on Nov. 18 it had signed up 47,309 Coloradans newly eligible under expanded Medicaid income rules, well on its way to reaching the 160,000 it expects to be eligible overall.
For those keeping score at home, Medicaid is the empirically failed federal entitlement program that Obamacare massively expands via a separate enrollment process. Disproportionately Medicaid-heavy ‘coverage’ expansions are a financial drain on Obamacare’s financial model that could threaten the viability of the entire law. Colorado is one of 14 states that constructed its own Obamacare exchange, an effort quarterbacked by strong Obamacare supporter Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat. The state’s insurance commissioner arrived at her current post directly from HHS, where she had access to various states’ implementation progress. Before the October 1 launch, Marguerite Salazar chuckled that Colorado’s exchange was in pretty strong shape compared to other jurisdictions she’d seen. With December right around the corner, Colorado’s enrollments are way off pace to even hit officials’ nightmare targets.
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