Murphy Urges Patience for Insurance Enrollment

Oct 24, 2013

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy on WNPR's "Where We Live" in 2012.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Despite technical problems plaguing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act nationwide, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said the launch in Connecticut has gone better than expected.

Connecticut's Democratic junior senator visited a health care center in New Haven Wednesday. The New Haven Register reports that Murphy said the problems elsewhere in the United States have not occurred in Connecticut.

Murphy urged patience across the country. He said the government did not expect the private insurance exchanges would see such large numbers this early in the enrollment process. They thought people would wait until the December 15 deadline drew closer.

President Barack Obama touted Connecticut's health exchange earlier this week. "We know that nearly one-third of the people applying in Connecticut and Maryland, for example, are under 35 years old," Obama said Monday. "They understand that they can get a good deal at low costs, have the security of health care, and this is not just for old folks like me -- that everybody needs good quality health insurance."

The Connecticut Mirror reports that the numbers are correct, but the assumption is misleading.

But more than 65 percent of those young applicants were signed up  in Connecticut’s Medicaid program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, another government-run health care plan for low-income families included in the state’s HUSKY program. They did not “get a good deal at low cost” from private insurers in the exchange or help the exchange’s  private insurers with their risk pools.

In fact, according to information provided by Access Health CT at a board meeting last week, the age group with the most applicants during the first two weeks of operation were aged 55-64, the least desirable demographic for insurers.

More than 3,800 individuals signed up for coverage through Access Health CT in the first half of the month. This report contains information from the Associated Press.