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Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Obamacare Is New, But Insurance 'Churn" Goes On

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In calculating their estimates, the researchers relied upon data from the Survey of Income Program and Participation from the U.S. Census Bureau. “This policy brief predicts a significant level of churn out of Medi-Cal and Covered California each year,” the authors noted. “Enrollment in Medi-Cal and Covered California will be dynamic as Californians move in and out of coverage.”

In addition to the 40 percent of enrollees who move to Medi-Cal or job-based insurance, between 2 and 8 percent of those who sign up for Covered California will become uninsured, the analysis noted.

Yet just as people will move out of Covered California and Medi-Cal, other people will move in. While open enrollment in Covered California ended on Monday (with a grace period until April 15 for people who had tried to enroll, but could not for technical reasons), many people are expected to sign up if they experience a life event that triggers a “special enrollment period.” These events include divorce, marriage, birth of a baby or loss of job-based insurance.

“Consequently, it will be vital for the enrollment infrastructure—from outreach, to the web-site, to in-person and call-center assistance—to be available and active even outside of open enrollment periods,” the authors said.

Medi-Cal does not have enrollment periods. Sign ups can happen at any time during the year.

This story is part of a collaboration that includes KQED, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Wed, Apr 2 2014

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