As consumers navigate the final week of open enrollment, eHealth analyzed its off-exchange enrollment data from late March and found a higher percentage of younger people enrolling at eHealth, more uninsured shopping for coverage this quarter (51 percent) and average premiums trending downward.
Between January 1 and March 23, 2014, shoppers between the ages of 18 and 34 years old accounted for 45 percent of persons selecting off-exchange plans through eHealth, compared to 39 percent for the same group in Q4, according to the eHealth Price Index. Also, 51 percent of eHealth shoppers who participated in a customer poll identified themselves as uninsured, compared to 34 percent who came to eHealth previously uninsured in the previous quarter.
At the end of February, Gary Lauer, eHealth’s CEO, said the impact of the Affordable Care Act provisions was especially significant in the individual market. He also noted that the start of the ACA’s enrollment period on October 1 “drove significant demand,” and speculates that is company may have been the beneficiary of the widespread frustration experienced by consumers who were unable to purchase policies through the federal government’s exchange last fall.
EHealth’s data also reveals an increase in the popularity of catastrophic plans among shoppers in the last three months of the nationwide open enrollment period, with catastrophic plans accounting for 14 percent of all plans selected compared to 10 percent in Q4.
And, as of March 23, 2014, premiums are trending downward. The average premium for individual plans selected by eHealth shoppers was $261 per month, a decrease of 10 percent since January 1 when it was $290 per month.
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