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Thursday, December 8, 2016

by Charles Ornstein, ProPublica.

The statistics released yesterday from Covered California could bode well for health insurance exchanges that have their act together.

Although the California exchange enrolled 109,000 in October and November combined, the tally from the first seven days in December — 49,708 — is nearly three times the pace from a month earlier. Even more people completed applications, the step prior to choosing a plan.

“This has been a phenomenal experience as Californians have expressed in words and action their desire for affordable and quality health insurance coverage,” Covered California executive director Peter V. Lee said in a news release. “Enrollments and applications are surging, and we at Covered California — and our partners — are stepping up our game to meet the demand.”

talked to Lee last month after California outpaced enrollments on HealthCare.gov, the federal marketplace for 36 states, during the month of October. (To be sure, the current signups are still well below the exchange’s goals for 2014.)

The news also has been positive out of New York. The New York State of Health exchange announced that, as of Monday, more than 69,500 people had signed up for private health plans through the state’s marketplace, according to Capital New York. That’s a big increase from a week earlier. As of Nov. 30, 45,000 people had selected a plan through the state’s exchange, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported this week in its state-by-state tally.

Donna Frescatore, executive director of New York State of Health, said in a statement: “We are very pleased to see these results, which show that tens of thousands of individuals and across the state are turning to nystateofhealth.ny.gov to access low-cost health insurance.”

Even HealthCare.gov, the federal marketplace handling enrollment for 36 states, is seeing a surge. In three days last week, after the beleaguered website was fixed, enrollment topped 56,000, The Washington Post reported.

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