Priority Health Marketplace enrollment survey reveals reduction in uninsured population and employer-sponsored coverage

(Grand Rapids, Mich. - January 17, 2014)
Priority Health, a leading Michigan health plan, revealed today insight about its new individual members. Preliminary research results of its new 2014 ACA MyPriority® health plan enrollees revealed that nearly 25 percent were previously uninsured and an additional 25 percent had employer-sponsored benefits prior to Jan. 1, 2014.

While health plans across the state estimated the individual market to grow by more than 250,000 people in 2014, a recent report from Health and Human Services indicates that only 75,000 enrolled in Michigan.

"If our results hold true for the entire state, you could project that approximately 18,000 Michiganders are newly insured while an additional 18,000 lost coverage through their employer," said Joan Budden, chief marketing officer for Priority Health. "While still early, this data suggests a potentially troubling trend with as many enrollees losing coverage through their employer as there are coming from the uninsured market. It also indicates that as an industry we need to do more to reach the uninsured market."

The survey provides a snapshot of how individuals approached researching and enrolling in new health plans, their prior insurance status and their perceptions about benefit changes. One highlight of the survey findings was that despite the widely reported technical glitches on the government's website, nearly half of the individual MyPriority 2014 plans were purchased through the Marketplace at healthcare.gov.

The survey results also reveal that of those individuals signing up, most are unsure about the benefits they purchased. While having broad and easy access to doctors was considered a high priority when selecting a plan, 43 percent of individuals responded that they were 'not sure/don’t know' as to whether their new provider network was similar to their old network.

"All of the confusion around benefit and network options offered through the federal Marketplace is very concerning," said Budden. "That's why Priority Health is strengthening its efforts to educate consumers not only about value of Priority Health's offerings but what consumers as a whole need to understand and consider when choosing a health plan. It's important that we paint a complete picture of what health plans offer. While cost is important, consumers need to understand the value they're getting for that cost including the benefits and services the plan provides and which doctors they can use when they need care."

In addition to uncertainty about which providers were included in their network, respondents expressed confusion about what additional financial resources were available to them. Nearly 75 percent of respondents indicated that the subsidy influenced their selection of a health plan. Yet, over 60 percent answered 'not sure/don't know' to whether or not they were eligible for additional savings through cost-sharing reduction, which would reduce out-of-pocket costs.

In the next two months, Priority Health will host informational meetings across the state and launch a social media and print campaign to ensure Michigan residents understand what benefits are available to them and that enrollment officially closes March 31.

To access information about the social media campaign Priority Health is kicking off to support consumers, visit priorityhealth.com/truecosts. For more information about the MyPriority plans and offerings visit mypriority.com.

About Priority Health:

Priority Health is an award-winning, Michigan-based non-profit health plan nationally recognized for improving the health and lives of the people it serves. It continues to lead the industry in engaging members in their health, delivering effective health and disease management programs and working with physicians to improve health care outcomes and performance. Priority Health is one of only 20 health plans nationwide offering wellness programs accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, an organization which also rated it among the best health plans in the nation. The State of Michigan named the Priority Health HMO the benchmark plan for all individual and group HMO plans to model.

Priority Health offers a broad portfolio of health benefit options for employer groups and individuals, including Medicare and Medicaid plans. Its network of health care providers features 95 percent of practicing physicians available in Michigan and more than 900,000 health care providers nationwide.