Through March 31, 155,567 Arkansans have been deemed eligible and gained coverage under the private option
, the state's unique plan which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance for low-income Arkansans (see county by county numbers above).
The Department of Human Services
announced the latest enrollment figures today and also released some demographic information on enrollees:
*61 percent are women.
*64 percent are between the ages of 19 and 44. According to Medicaid Director Andy Allison, this is a somewhat younger population than the rest of the people on the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplac
e. (According to federal data
, through March 1, just 43 percent of the non-private-option Marketplace was 44 or younger — that includes children, who are not eligible for the private option.)
*43 percent are 19 to 34, the "young invincibles" group that insurers covet and tend to have the lowest health costs. By contrast, just 22 percent of the non-private option Marketplace was 18-34 (18-year-olds are not eligible for the private option). We'll have to see how these trends hold up, but if the private option continues to bring in a younger pool, that could be very good news in terms of stabilizing the Marketplace and bringing down premiums in the long term.
*11 percent of the people who have gained coverage were deemed "medically frail"
and routed to the traditional Medicaid program.
*82 percent of enrollees are below the poverty line, which means they would not have been eligible for subsidized coverage without the private option expansion
. It also means that this year, they do not have any cost-sharing, although the state plans to implement some cost sharing below the poverty line next year
*Among private option beneficiaries who enrolled in private plans, 35 percent selected their own plan and 65 percent were auto-assigned
after not picking their own plan.
*5 percent of enrollees were assisted by a broker. In counties in which this rate was higher, the rate of self-selection was higher, suggesting that beneficiaries are more likely to pick their own plan if they have someone to guide them through the process.
Here's the full age breakdown:
19-25: 18 percent
26-34: 25 percent
35-44: 21 percent
44-54: 21 percent
55-64: 15 percent
See here for the full data released by DHS today:
See related PDF