More than 1 million Texans have activated their Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance in 2018 – a 5 percent increase from 2017. That’s just one of the findings of an Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) analysis of new ACA health insurance enrollment data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The report found that 9 in 10 Texans who signed up for ACA health insurance during open enrollment last fall then activated their plan by paying premiums in 2018. In 2017, 78 percent of Texas enrollees activated their ACA plans.
CMS says it releases “activation” data to provide “a more accurate picture of enrollment trends for the Exchanges than indicated by the number of individuals who simply selected a plan during Open Enrollment.” Previous CMS reports on 2018 enrollees only looked at those who signed up for a plan. Those reports showed that around 100,000 fewer Texans had enrolled in 2018 ACA plans compared to the year before. Nationally, the same reports found there were almost 1 million fewer ACA enrollees in 2018 than in 2017.
Along with showing more active ACA health insurance plans, the report found that more Texans are receiving federal financial assistance to pay their premiums in 2018. The report discovered that 90 percent of Texans who have activated their ACA plans now receive federal subsidies to help pay their premiums. The total number of active ACA enrollees in Texas receiving financial help jumped from 829,374 in 2017 to 908,650 in 2018—a 10 percent increase.
EHF’s analysis shows the average ACA health insurance premium price in Texas increased 32 percent in 2018, from $409 to $538 per month. Most Texans did not pay for that increase out of their pocket. The report found that the average premium cost for Texans with subsidized ACA plans has dropped from $85 to $63 a month, because federal financial subsidies increase as premiums increase. So as premiums rose from 2017 to 2018, the report shows average monthly financial assistance also rose from $337 to $475, a 41 percent increase.
Data and figures presented in the report are based on analysis of 2018 effectuated enrollment data published by the CMS compared with Texas and national data on effectuated enrollment for both the 2017 and 2018 Open Enrollment Periods.
Contact: Brian Sasser