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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Post Has Problems With Its Scorecard in Assessing State Enrollment in the ACA

The Post Has Problems With Its Scorecard in Assessing State Enrollment in the ACA

Sunday, 29 June 2014 15:32

The Washington Post did an assessment of which states had the largest share of their eligible population enroll in the exchanges and which states were least successful. California topped the charts with 42 percent of the eligible population followed by Vermont. Picking up the rear was Hawaii, where it tells us less than 15 percent of the eligible population enrolled.

There is a big problem with the Post's scorecard. The states didn't start in the same place. In last place Hawaii only 8 percent of its population was uninsured. By contrast, in California 19 percent of its population was uninsured. This means that even with the differences in ACA enrollment Hawaii likely still have a higher insurance rate than California.

While the piece notes Hawaii's problems in setting up its exchange, it is also the case that as the share of the population who is uninsured gets lower, it becomes more difficult to enroll the people who remain uninsured. These people are likely resistant to signing up for insurance or have difficulties navigating bureaucracies. Therefore it should not be surprising that Hawaii did not do well on this measure.

The piece also highlights enrollments of people 18-32. While there had been much hype around enrolling "young invincibles," as Kaiser has shown the difference in premiums largely reflects the differences in health care costs. It really doesn't matter much for the finances of the program how many young people enroll, although it is good to see them getting insurance.

Comments (2)Add Comment
The Math
written by Larry Signor, June 29, 2014 6:21
So, 6.8% of Hawaiians are uninsured...while 11% of Californians are uninsured...4,216,577 Californians are without insurance...94,656 Hawaiians are without insurance. I am not sure what Mr. Wilson is trying to say.
More confusing ACA rollout claims.
written by jaaaaayceeeee, June 30, 2014 1:01

Why rank California's enrolling 42% of eligibles better than Vermont's enrolling 85%?

Are ACA 18-34 year olds ACA signups unaffected by % on parents' policies?

If Alaska, Nebraska and Wyoming rollouts of ACA, are at the bottom because of % of eligibles enrolled, why is talking to CA the answer? What's the relative effectiveness for making a state version of healthcare.gov, increasing constituent services, advertising, outreach, navigators, and simplifying Medicaid rules?

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.