11 12 / 2013

With the new enrollment numbers out today, I decided to take a closer look at numbers around financial assistance. In the table below, columns two and three, representing the number of applicants determined to be eligible for a Marketplace plan and then the subset of applicants eligible for tax credits, come from this ASPE report on enrollment. Column four is my own calculation, dividing the preceding two columns. Columns five and six are from this November KFF analysis, which used Census data to make eligibility estimates. Column seven is my own calculation, taking the proportion of five and six, and in column eight I subtract column seven from column four. My apologies for the small size of the text in the table.

I think the final column is the most interesting one. It presents how a state’s current applicant composition looks relative to its total estimated market (see page 2 of KFF report for their method of estimation). In many states, represented by the red text, a low proportion of people who qualify for financial assistance have applied so far, relative to the total population in the state that would be eligible if they applied (per Census data).

As you can see, many state-based marketplaces are succeeding in getting people who need financial assistance to apply. In fact only SBMs have applicant pools that are seemingly lower-income than their overall populations that are theoretically eligible for a plan in the new Marketplace. Maryland, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Minnesota are all above the line. Some SBMs such as Vermont and Hawaii are struggling, but most states deep in the red defaulted to a federal marketplace.

For all states, but especially states in the red, three things could be going wrong: 1) That people who would be eligible for tax credits aren’t applying 2) That such people are applying but misstating their income for whatever reason 3) That such people are applying but the system is erring in making eligibility determinations. It’s also conceivable that the system is determining people to be eligible who are not.

        1            2              3              4             5               6              7            8

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12/13 update: I wrote a follow-up Tumblr post discussing state estimates and CBO’s enrollment projection

12/17 update: I expanded on my follow-up post over at Project Millennial