As HIX Enrollment Closes, Analysis Begins

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media , March 31, 2014

On Friday, CMS said it finds the early data from the exchanges encouraging. The exchanges, a spokesperson said, are proving to be sustainable and appear to be paralleling the experience in Massachusetts, which established a balanced exchange risk pool after then-Gov. Mitt Romney launched a comprehensive healthcare reform effort in 2006.

Exchange Operator's View
From the vantage point of officials operating the exchanges, the 2014 enrollment data will reveal potential unbalances that could be destabilizing factors in the new markets.

"One of the key pieces of this is to have balance," Cammie Blais, CFO of Connect for Health Colorado, said Thursday. "We've been happy with the mix that has come in. But it's going to be critical to use that information to calibrate our next steps and determine how we continue to partner with stakeholders."

Getting a detailed profile of the 2014 Colorado exchange beneficiaries will "become a leading indicator of what we need to be focusing on next," Blais said. The steps Connect for Health Colorado officials need to consider include policy holder retention, policy renewals, and changing marketing campaigns to recruit enrollees from groups that have historically faced barriers to accessing healthcare, she added.

Operators of exchanges across the country are "getting a longer-term view" as the focus on launching the exchanges turns to stabilizing them. "There's going to be early adopters and those who hold out and wait to see if it's going to work… The people who are enrolling now either have a need or see it as an opportunity. … It's a longer vision that we need to have. Our reality will continue to change."

Christopher Cheney is the senior finance editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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