Obamacare plan selections on HealthCare.gov up this year in nearly all zip codes
InfoStat | 05-28-15

Obamacare plan selections on HealthCare.gov up this year in nearly all zip codes

Plan selections decreased in 50 zip codes including 41 zip codes in Michigan

Plan selections decreased in 50 zip codes including 41 zip codes in Michigan - HealthPocket

Eight million individuals selected marketplace plans during the first annual enrollment period for Obamacare health insurance plans in 2014 1. This total included 5.4 million plan selections on the federal marketplace at healthcare.gov and 2.6 million plan selections on state-based marketplaces using different platforms.2

Total marketplace plan selections increased 46% to 11.7 million during this year’s annual enrollment period. There were 8.8 million plan selections on healthcare.gov and 2.8 million plan selections on state-based marketplaces using different platforms.3 HealthPocket examined plan selection data for zip codes on healthcare.gov to determine which locations had the greatest changes in the number of plan selections from 2014 to 2015.4 The datasets included plan selections for zip codes that had more than 50 plan selections on healthcare.gov in 20145 and 2015.6

Plan selections increased this year in over 99% of the zip codes in the 2014 and 2015 datasets. The five zip codes with the greatest increases in total number of plan selections were all in Hialeah, FL and Miami, FL. Zip code 33012 in Hialeah had an increase of more than 5,000 healthcare.gov plan selections in 2015, the largest increase of any zip code.

Top zip codes by increase in healthcare.gov plan selections this year

Zip Code State Healthcare.gov plan selections in 2014 Healthcare.gov plan selections in 2015 Increase in plan selections from 2014 to 2015 Percentage increase in plan selections from 2014 to 2015
33012 Florida 10,368 15,584 5,216 50.31%
33010 Florida 6,666 10,566 3,900 58.51%
33015 Florida 7,117 10,886 3,769 52.96%
33126 Florida 7,530 11,222 3,692 49.03%
33125 Florida 6,696 10,323 3,627 54.17%
33165 Florida 6,859 10,279 3,420 49.86%
33463 Florida 4,285 7,705 3,420 79.81%
33415 Florida 3,419 6,804 3,385 99.01%
30044 Georgia 5,901 9,087 3,186 53.99%
79936 Texas 4,862 8,036 3,174 65.28%

The two zip codes with the highest percentage increases in plan selections this year were both in Moultrie, GA. The zip codes with the next highest percentage increases were in Purvis, MS and Oak Grove, LA. The greatest increase in plan selections by percentage was observed in the 31788 zip code in Moultrie, which had a 295% increase in healthcare.gov plan selections from 2014 to 2015.

Top zip codes by percentage increase in healthcare.gov plan selections this year

Zip Code State Healthcare.gov plan selections in 2014 Healthcare.gov plan selections in 2015 Increase in plan selections from 2014 to 2015 Percentage increase in plan selections from 2014 to 2015
31788 Georgia 118 466 348 294.92%
31768 Georgia 363 1,376 1,013 279.06%
39475 Mississippi 80 298 218 272.50%
71263 Louisiana 55 202 147 267.27%
31771 Georgia 68 234 166 244.12%
24184 Virginia 71 240 169 238.03%
22853 Virginia 62 206 144 232.26%
19950 Delaware 61 198 137 224.59%
24171 Virginia 142 448 306 215.49%
24551 Virginia 383 1,178 795 207.57%

Although healthcare.gov plan selections were up this year in nearly every zip code in the 2014 and 2015 datasets, plan selections were down in 50 zip codes. Of the 50 zip codes with fewer plan selections this year, 41 zip codes were located in Michigan. The other nine zip codes were in New Hampshire (two zip codes), Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Mississippi, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, and New Mexico. In addition, two other zip codes in New Hampshire (03251 and 03830) had the same number of plan selections in 2014 and 2015.

healthcare.gov plan selections were up this year in nearly every zip code in the 2014 and 2015 datasets - HealthPocket

The 34 zip codes with the largest drops in healthcare.gov plan selections this year were all in Michigan. In particular, the twelve zip codes with the largest drops in plan selections were all in Detroit, MI. Zip code 48228 in Detroit had the largest drop of 387 plan selections. Zip code 48204 in Detroit had a 31% drop in healthcare.gov plan selections this year, the largest percentage drop of any zip code in both the 2014 and 2015 datasets.

Zip codes with drops in healthcare.gov plan selections this year7

Zip Code State Healthcare.gov plan selections in 2014 Healthcare.gov plan selections in 2015 Decrease in plan selections from 2014 to 2015 Percentage decrease in plan selections from 2014 to 2015
48228 Michigan 1,454 1,067 -387 -26.62%
48219 Michigan 1,643 1,285 -358 -21.79%
48235 Michigan 1,507 1,191 -316 -20.97%
48224 Michigan 1,143 851 -292 -25.55%
48227 Michigan 1,213 930 -283 -23.33%
48221 Michigan 1,342 1,061 -281 -20.94%
48234 Michigan 961 699 -262 -27.26%
48204 Michigan 726 498 -228 -31.40%
48238 Michigan 854 636 -218 -25.53%
48205 Michigan 916 729 -187 -20.41%
48223 Michigan 789 610 -179 -22.69%
48213 Michigan 597 419 -178 -29.82%
48141 Michigan 769 592 -177 -23.02%
48206 Michigan 528 402 -126 -23.86%
48210 Michigan 450 325 -125 -27.78%
48203 Michigan 662 538 -124 -18.73%
48214 Michigan 628 518 -110 -17.52%
48126 Michigan 1,543 1,437 -106 -6.87%
48207 Michigan 641 539 -102 -15.91%
48209 Michigan 402 320 -82 -20.40%
48208 Michigan 333 259 -74 -22.22%
48215 Michigan 336 267 -69 -20.54%
48342 Michigan 496 427 -69 -13.91%
48201 Michigan 370 306 -64 -17.30%
48341 Michigan 579 523 -56 -9.67%
48229 Michigan 226 184 -42 -18.58%
48202 Michigan 463 428 -35 -7.56%
48217 Michigan 186 153 -33 -17.74%
48218 Michigan 185 155 -30 -16.22%
48340 Michigan 658 631 -27 -4.10%
48211 Michigan 137 116 -21 -15.33%
48122 Michigan 308 289 -19 -6.17%
48504 Michigan 452 433 -19 -4.20%
48601 Michigan 732 714 -18 -2.46%
87937 New Mexico 69 56 -13 -18.84%
48034 Michigan 609 598 -11 -1.81%
49709 Michigan 115 105 -10 -8.70%
48915 Michigan 230 222 -8 -3.48%
48216 Michigan 163 158 -5 -3.07%
18350 Pennsylvania 64 61 -3 -4.69%
71638 Arkansas 69 66 -3 -4.35%
03583 New Hampshire 73 70 -3 -4.11%
52776 Iowa 62 60 -2 -3.23%
49406 Michigan 67 65 -2 -2.99%
49252 Michigan 132 130 -2 -1.52%
62204 Illinois 87 86 -1 -1.15%
48637 Michigan 105 104 -1 -0.95%

Conclusion

Obamacare plan selections were up this year in nearly all of the 14,283 zip codes that HealthPocket examined, with only 50 zip codes having fewer plan selections this year and two zip codes having the same number of plan selections as last year. Michigan had 41 of the 50 zip codes with fewer plan selections. Across the zip codes in both the 2014 and 2015 datasets, the changes in plan selections from last year to this year ranged from a decrease of 387 plan selections to an increase of 5,216 plan selections.

Population decreases likely contributed to drops in plan selections this year. Detroit had the twelve zip codes with the largest drops in plan selections, with Detroit’s population declining at an average rate of 7,500 people per year since 2010.8 Population increases also likely contributed to increased plan selections in other zip codes. Hialeah, FL and Miami, FL, which had the five zip codes with the highest increases in healthcare.gov plan selections, had population increases of 3.9% and 4.5% respectively from April 2010 to July 2013.9 The population of Florida increased from 19.6 million in 2013 to 19.9 million in 2014.10

Marketplace navigators also helped raise plan selection totals this year. Maine’s high marketplace enrollment rates in 2015 have been credited in part to the Maine Lobsterman’s Association11 and other navigator groups for providing assistance to people in person and over the phone for making marketplace plan selections. Also consumers using healthcare.gov experienced fewer technical issues this year compared to last year and the penalty for being uninsured was higher this year, both factors that may have raised healthcare.gov plan selections this year.

Although the 2015 annual enrollment period is over, the plan selection numbers will continue to change as the year progresses. After the 2015 annual enrollment period ended on February 15, the federal marketplace had a special enrollment period from March 15 through April 30 for uninsured people that did not know about the uninsured tax penalty.12 There were 147,000 additional healthcare.gov plan selections during the special enrollment period, a 1.7% increase from the end of the 2015 annual enrollment period.13

Furthermore, people can continue to select marketplace plans throughout the rest of the year if they become eligible for another special enrollment period. Eligibility for a special enrollment period can be triggered by a change in family status (e.g. a marriage or birth) or a loss of health coverage.14 Moreover, not everyone that selects a plan will pay for it and receive coverage, so the eventual enrollment totals for this year may be much lower than the current plan selection totals.

Methodology

HealthPocket analyzed Obamacare plan selection data for zip codes with more than 50 plan selections in 2014 and 2015. The data only included plan selections on the federal marketplace at healthcare.gov. Plans purchased off-exchange or on a state-based marketplace were not included in the analysis. Zip codes in states that used healthcare.gov for only one year (Idaho in 2014, Nevada and Oregon in 2015) were not included in the analysis.

Maps were generated using state15 and zip code16 boundary files for the continental United States from Google Fusion Tables. The first map includes zip codes in the continental USA that had over 50 plan selections in 2014 and 2015. The second map includes zip codes in the continental USA that had over 50 plan selections in 2014 or 2015.

AUTHOR

This analysis was written by Jesse Geneson, data scientist at HealthPocket. Correspondence regarding this study can be directed to jesse.geneson@healthpocket.com.


SOURCES

1 The 2014 annual enrollment period marketplace plan selection total of 8 million includes special enrollment period activity through April 19, 2014.
2 Health insurance marketplace: summary enrollment report for the initial annual enrollment period. May 1, 2014. ASPE Issue Brief. http://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/76876/ib_2014Apr_enrollment.pdf The 2015 AEP plan selection totals include special enrollment period activity through February 22, 2015.
3 Health insurance marketplaces 2015 open enrollment period: March enrollment report. March 10, 2015. ASPE Issue Brief. http://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/83656/ib_2015mar_enrollment.pdf
4 The plan selection data only included zip codes with more than 50 plan selections for each year. Only zip codes that use healthcare.gov were included in the data. Zip codes that use state-based marketplaces were not included in the data. Only states that used healthcare.gov in both 2014 and 2015 were analyzed. Zip codes in states that used healthcare.gov only one of those years (Idaho in 2014, Nevada in 2015, Oregon in 2015) were not included in the analysis.
5 Plan selections by zip code in the health insurance marketplace. September 2014. http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2014/marketplaceenrollment/enrollmentbyzip/rpt_enrollmentbyzip.cfm
6 Plan selections by zip code in the health insurance marketplace. April 2015. http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2015/marketplaceenrollment/enrollmentbyzip/rpt_enrollmentbyzip_apr2015.cfm
7 Only zip codes with over 50 plan selections in 2015 are included in the table. Three zip codes with over 50 plan selections in 2014 but at most 50 plan selections in 2015 were excluded from the table since they were excluded from the 2015 dataset, so the table has 47 of the 50 zip codes with fewer healthcare.gov plan selections in 2015 than 2014. The three zip codes with fewer plan selections in 2015 that were excluded from the 2015 dataset were 03279 in New Hampshire, 37365 in Tennessee, and 38753 in Mississippi.
8 Christine Macdonald. Suburbs gain while Detroit population drops below 700,000. May 21, 2014. The Detroit News. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140521/METRO08/305210136
9 http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states
10 Ibid.
11 Matthew J.B. Lawrence. Exploring the significant state-to-state variation in marketplace enrollment. April 29, 2015. Health Affairs.
12 147K enrolled in federal exchange during special enrollment period. May 20, 2015. California Healthline. http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2015/5/20/147k-enrolled-in-federal-exchange-during-special-enrollment-period
13 Total plan selections for the 2015 annual enrollment period includes special enrollment period activity through February 22. The total of 147,000 plan selections during the March 15 – April 30 special enrollment period is from the healthcare.gov twitter account at https://twitter.com/healthcaregov.
14 Special enrollment period. https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/special-enrollment-period/
15 State KML. https://www.google.com/fusiontables/data?docid=17aT9Ud-YnGiXdXEJUyycH2ocUqreOeKGbzCkUw US ZIP codes.
16 https://www.google.com/fusiontables/DataSource?docid=1Lae-86jeUDLmA6-8APDDqazlTOy1GsTXh28DAkw

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Author

Jesse Geneson

HealthPocket is a free information source designed to help consumers find medical coverage. Whether you are looking for Medicare, Medicaid or an individual health insurance plan, we will help you find the right healthcare option and save on your out of pocket healthcare costs. We receive our data from government, non-profit and private sources, and you should confirm key provisions of your coverage with your selected health plan. If you select a plan presented on our site, you will be directed (via a click or a call) to one of our partners who can help you with your application. Our website is not a health insurance agency and not affiliated with and does not represent or endorse any health plan. HealthPocket, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Health Plan Intermediaries Holdings LLC (NASDAQ: HIIQ)