The Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s new Spring enrollment report shows that in February 2017, 182,232 customers had purchased qualified (private) health plans (QHP). The chart below shows the monthly enrollment numbers, as revised by the current report. (These are all plans that have been paid for.)
Healthcare spending in general, and prescription drug prices specifically, continue to be a major issue in both state and federal budgeting. Today's guest is Saumil Pandya, Senior Director of Policy & Research at PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Last week we released a report on prescription drug spending and Medicaid, and their impacts on the state budget. Coincidentally, the Health Care Authority (HCA) and Office of Financial Management (OFM) released a report to the Legislature the same day, called, “Review of Prescription Drug Costs and Summary of Potential Purchasing Strategies.”
Yesterday the Washington Health Benefit Exchange sent out a press release headlined, “Washington Healthplanfinder Sees Jump in Enrollment.” I thought they must be announcing initial enrollment numbers for the first few weeks of the current open enrollment period (which runs from Nov. 1, 2016 through Jan. 31, 2017).
Here are some highlights:
Today the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) released a performance audit of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. The main issues uncovered are that the Exchange hasn’t been fully reimbursed by Medicaid for Medicaid services and that it does not have reserves or a long-term financial plan. The audit also notes, though, that the Exchange’s operating costs “appear reasonable.”
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has released a report this week showing enrollment data from the most recent open enrollment period (which ran from Nov. 1, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016). According to the report, 169,182 qualified (private) health plans (QHP) were purchased. Additionally, 1,522,342 were enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) through the Exchange in March.
Last week a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction requiring the Health Care Authority (HCA) to cover hepatitis C drugs for all Medicaid clients with the disease -- regardless of the drug's cost or how ill the patients are.
What UnitedHealth's departure will mean for Washington's Exchange, and an update on open enrollment numbers
UnitedHealth announced last week that it will leave health insurance exchanges in at least 22 states, in an attempt to "stem losses from participating." One of those states is Washington. The Association of Washington Business quotes the Washington Health Benefit Exchange on the news:
As Kriss wrote yesterday, a new revenue forecast has been approved. This forecast will inform the 2016 supplemental budget. On a near general fund-state plus opportunity pathways (NGFS+) basis, estimated revenues for the current biennium are $37.837 billion -- a decrease of $78.2 million from the Nov. 2015 forecast (see page 28 here).