Connect for Health Colorado is bragging about their enrollment again. And why shouldn’t they? The number of enrollees has grown every year, but are those numbers a false flag?
Enrolling in the exchange doesn’t mean one has actually decided to purchase insurance. Those facts aren’t known until April or May when the first insurance premium is due.
So let’s review their success by the numbers.
How many Coloradans don’t have health insurance? In 2011, that number was 829,000, according to one study.
Another study in 2015 said the number had been reduced to 353,000.
So let’s look at the fattest year for the exchange, which is 2016 when so many Coloradans had lost their insurance they had to extend the enrollment period an extra month.
As of mid-May 2016, the exchange confirmed by email that effectuated enrollment was at 145,930.
That’s after more than 11,000 who signed up changed their mind, and well short of the exchange’s goal that year, which aimed for 217,000.
Which brings us to this year:
For the open-enrollment period that officially closed on Friday, Connect for Health Colorado announced that 175,964 people picked a health or dental plan on the exchange.
That’s a huge bump, which supporters of Obamacare are latching onto even as we type to boast the success of the exchange and growing demand for buying private insurance.
The problem is, we won’t know until May how many actually purchased health insurance.
Also complicating counts this year, dental insurance will count separately as a health insurance purchase. So, not only will we wait several more months to get the actual number of those buying health care through the exchange, we will have to divine how many of those were stand-alone dental policies and not health insurance.
Also of note on this year’s purported success, one-quarter of Connect For Health’s customers did not return.