Connecticut’s health exchange enrolled nearly 200,000 people between Oct. 1 and the deadline Monday — and the number will rise as people who eked into the system by March 31 finish their applications.
Here is the final tally from Access Health CT:
Total Enrollment: 197,878
Total Enrolled On March 31: 5,917
Private Plans: 76,597 (informal goal: 70,000)
Medicaid Enrollees: 121,281 (informal goal: 30,000)
Website Visitors Since Oct. 1: 801,509
Call Center Queries: 366,975
Enrollment Fairs: 78
Anyone who left a voicemail message or appeared at one of the state’s two storefront locations but did not complete an application will have a chance to do so by May 1 and still meet the federal deadline for a 2014 subsidy.
CNBC.com looked at the 14 states plus Washington DC that ran their own exchanges, using federal grant money. California was the most efficient, signing up 1 million people in private plans after receiving $1.07 billion from the feds, for an average cost of $1,046 for every person who signed up for a private plan.
Hawaii was the most expensive, coming in at $35,749 per private-plan enrollee. Obviously, as one commenter pointed out on the CNBC website, bigger states have an efficiency advantage because building a system of any size costs a lot.
Connecticut was more efficient than any small state at $2,552 per enrollee, making us the fifth most efficient state overall. (Figures did not include the huge last-day rush in Connecticut and elsewhere, which lowered the per-enrollee cost.)
The average cost per enrollee in all of the state-run exchanges was $1,899 — a figure that was brought way down by the size and efficiency of California.
It’s notable that Connecticut barely beat its own informal goal of enrolling 70,000 people in private plans, but crushed its target of 30,000 Medicaid enrollees. As it turned out, expanded Medicaid brought a much bigger pool than private uninsured residents.
And, said Kevin Counihan, the Access Health CT CEO, Connecticut made a smart decision early on to keep its system simple rather than tying it into the state’s systems for food stamps, temporary welfare payments and other social services. States that failed had more complex databases, he said.
Tallying just the cost of private plan enrollment makes sense if we’re trying to gauge the core goal of Obamacare, but, as Counihan points out, by ignoring Medicaid enrollment it misses the source of the biggest reduction in the ranks of the uninsured.
Any way we look at it, as the final numbers come in, the average cost per person will fall. And future years will cost a whole lot less now that the systems are up and running. That’s the hope, at least. But remember, the exchanges will have to start charging a tax to operate after 2015.