Okay, One State Can Claim Success So Far.

by Jim Geraghty

So far, there is one state that can say, without much spin or goal-shifting, that it is having a genuinely non-disastrous rollout of its state health exchange. Maybe even a pretty good one.

Take a bow, Connecticut:

In its first month, Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange, enrolled 7,615 people in health care coverage, according to figures released Friday.

Of those, 53 percent — 4,065 — have signed up for private insurance plans. The other 47 percent are signed up for Medicaid.

In addition, 55 small businesses have signed up for coverage through Access Health’s small business exchange. Altogether they have 306 employees.

The administration’s aim was 33,000 signups for private insurance plans in Connecticut by March 31, 2014, so the state has achieved 12 percent of its goal, within 17 percent of the signup period. That may not sound like much, but it’s way ahead of almost every other state.

The private-insurance/Medicaid split is particularly impressive, since most states have had very few private-insurance purchasers and lots and lots of new folks on Medicaid:

“When we first saw the numbers, everyone’s eyes kind of bugged out,” said Matt Salo, who runs the National Association of Medicaid Directors. “Of the people walking through the door, 90 percent are on Medicaid. We’re thinking, what planet is this happening on?”

No one knows how this giant expansion of Medicaid will play out, but one likely scenario is A) a spike in the federal deficit, as Medicaid becomes a lot more expensive this year and B) budget trouble for the states:

States do, however, have to help pay for residents who were eligible before the health law but are just signing up. That could be costly: In Washington, for example, about one-third of the new Medicaid sign-ups falls into this category.

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