Federal health insurance enrollment down 12% in Allen

April 2, 2019

Enrollment in health insurance coverage sold through the federal Affordable Care Act fell this year by nearly 12 percent in Allen County.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported data recently showing that 8,669 county residents signed up for federal insurance exchange plans for 2019, compared with 9,817 who did so for 2018.

National enrollment declined by about 3 percent percent to 11.4 million people. The total includes customers on the federal exchange, which covers 39 states, and state-based exchanges in 11 states and the District of Columbia.

Indiana enrollment dropped by 11 percent to 148,404 customers as the state’s five most populous counties : Marion, Lake, Allen, Hamilton and St. Joseph : saw double-digit percentage decreases.

Enrollment decreases have been linked to various factors. Low unemployment means that more people have access to employer-provided medical insurance. Expanded state Medicaid programs have siphoned off Affordable Care Act customers, including in Indiana. And Congress repealed the health care law’s tax penalty for people who do not carry insurance.

Insurance enrollment dwindled this year in eight other counties in northeast Indiana: Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Steuben, Wells and Whitley. But it rose by 20 customers in Noble County.

Those nine counties combined to enroll 8,779 people, a 6.6 percent overall reduction from the previous year.

Ryan Stoneburner, owner of local insurance brokerage Health Insurance Inc., attributed declining enrollment in Allen County to small employers who “have been more assertive towards setting up group plans than their more rural peers to attract and retain employees.”

Stoneburner said Noble County likely saw an enrollment increase because residents had more options for insurance plans and prices. Two companies : CareSource and Ambetter from MHS : sold federal exchange plans in Noble County during open enrollment in November and December, but only CareSource did in the previous year.

Ambetter offered federal exchange insurance throughout northeast Indiana this year. CareSource offered in all area counties except for DeKalb and Kosciusko.