CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Although the problems associated with the Affordable Care Act have eased at least some, the numbers of people signing up for an exchange continued to be sluggish through this week.

The state’s lone provider through ACA, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has registered just over 1,200 in their packages. There is a fear it isn’t nearly enough to sustain the program.

“Obviously is much lower than they projected or would have liked,” said Perry Bryant of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care. “They were projecting to have 20 to 25,000 and they are less than 10 percent of that.”

Bryant points out more than half of the enrollees in the Highmark plan came on board since December 1. He said that was an indication things were headed in the right direction, but not nearly fast enough.

Bryant blamed some of the frustration and lagging enrollment on the problems with the federal exchange website, but added he thought the Tomblin administration could have done a much better job informing the public about the program.

“An awful lot of people don’t know about this at all,” Bryant said. “The governor’s office could have gotten 100 percent federal funds to operate TV and radio commercials to inform people, but they decided not to do that.”

The decision could come at a heavy price to Highmark since it’s unlikely many of those seeking the initial coverage are young and healthy as so many of the exchange plans depend on.

“There are mechanisms to balance out that risk,” Bryant said. “But there’s a lot of speculation there won’t be enough to make them whole unless we get a lot more people enrolled.”

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Comments

  • angry white guy

    Shocker.

  • Daniel Wright

    “There are mechanisms to balance out that risk,” Bryant said.
    High Mark has been our health insurer for many years. Looks like I'll be digging deeper for the same coverage.
    A big thanks goes out to all of the democrats.

  • 2XLPatriot

    “An awful lot of people don’t know about this at all,” Bryant said.

    Are you kidding me??? How in the hell can an "awful lot of people" NOT know about this? It's only been the biggest issue spewing from liberal mouths for the last 6 years. Let's not forget that of ALL the people who have signed up or registered nationwide, only 5-15% have actually paid for their premium. It was a sick joke when it was pushed through and it gets more sick everday.

  • Docbegone

    2014 can't come soon enough.

  • Polly the Pundit

    Please don't let Perry Bryant divulge whatever it is that he has been smoking - if you think Meth and Oxycontin abuse are bad, if the dopeheads get a hold of what Perry is on, there is nothing that can stop them!!!

  • Laughing

    Oh come on, people. You're going to keep your plans. And your doctor. Your premiums are going to go down. You'll get better coverage. The deficit will go down. Your taxes will go down. It's utopia for everyone!

    Didn't you people listen to Obama and his sheep when they told you this last year?



    Gee whiz.

  • blugldmn

    Natalie Tennant is one of the states most vocal supporters of Obamacare and Obama himself for that matter.

    Remember that when you don't vote for her .....

  • wvtd

    obamacare is a horrible law that has been shoved down our throats by a socialist regime and its minions like joey manchin, nick joe , rockefeller , tomblin and the hoard a lemmings that follow them. let us remember next November. as for me i will pay the tax penalty.

  • DWL

    Obama-Care! I love the way the leftist 4th Estate protects this imbecile posing as a leader! Leading his liberal sheep(d) over the cliff to their demise. Yet another destructive entitlement program shepherded by Carpetbagger Jay, No Show Joe and heralded by cousin Earl Ray and the dem(olition) party of liberalism. More O-crap from the public housing unit at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in the Dysfunctional Capital.

  • Curious

    Can someone help me understand who is paying for the 800,000 new people on Medicaid....including recently released felons? Who is "balancing their risk" and what incentive do they have to be engage in healthy behaviors?

    • Joe

      You ,me and all hardworking responsible tax paying WV'ians. Not to worry, you'll still see their tart covered bodies at the convenience store buying smokes and lottery tickets.

    • Golfman

      Rhetorical question I know, Curious, but most do not realize just how much this is going to cost working people.

      Not only are they losing coverage and paying much higher premiums, they are going to be taxed to death to pay for the lazy welfare bums who will now jump on the free insurance bandwagon.

      • Kelly

        Bing. Bing!! We have a winner!! That is exactly right. Think they appreciate it?!

        Working people will drop dead working to support the 90 percent is Medicaid receipients perfectly able to work but won't.

        I agree with Joe. I get ticked every time I am in line at the supermarket or quick shop waiting for these takers purchase beer cigs and lottery tickets with our tax money.

        • Lorin Hiles

          I'd like to know how Kelly knows they are purchasing beer, lottery tickets and cigs with her tax money.
          Many of those on assistance programs are the working poor. Don't forget those who work for minimum wage also qualify for government assistance.

  • George

    Pay the fine, people...it is a lot cheaper and easier than working through the monstrosity of healthcare.gov - plus if you are not getting a tax refund they can't make you pay. Then you can use your money to get health care at a doctor or hospital of your own choosing.

    • Polly the Pundit

      George,

      In many ways you are correct. The proposed individual penalities - if they are still around in 2015 - may be cheaper than buying healthcare through the marketplace.

      For West Virginia the Exchange(s) were a loser from the get go. WV's population is 1.8 million. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 390,021 are on Medicare. PEIA covers approximately 240,000 covered lives. There are currently 15,000 receiving WV CHIP. The current Medicaid rolls are at almost 400,000. With the Governor opting to expand Medicaid by as many as 182,000 (Charleston Daily Mail) that makes almost 1,227,000 people - or 66% - of the state's population on some form of government subsidized health plan. With many of the state's largest employers - CAMC, Wal-Mart, Toyota, NGK, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, Waste Management, Westvaco, Pilgrim's Pride, etc. plus the energy (coal/natural gas) industry - offering "affordable health plans" as defined by the ACA, the market doesn't really have a pool large enough to support one exchange plan let alone a truly competitive marketplace.

      Highmark and other companies that saw the ACA as a boon to business are going to quickly learn that it may be more of a bust. They are going to get the high risk/high claims population(s) as others either (a) take their chances on flying under the radar and not getting caught, (b) elect to pay the penalty based on their "adjusted gross", and/or (c) who elect to pick up coverage(s) previously declined through their employer(s).

      As that happens, the marketplace will dwindle and/or have to be completely revamped.

      • mamasita

        Not to mention, the other shoe is already dropping. Employers in WV are dropping their plans, dumping employees onto Obamacare. I do know someone that has already gone through this. They signed up for Obamacare via an agent. Their deductible and out of pocket expenses are doubling from what they were on the employers plan. They are not "young and healthy". They are definitely not happy. More to come!

  • Jephre

    The web site is only a small part of the problems with Obamacare. Let's see... higher premiums, higher deductibles, can't keep your current plan or doctor, hospitals declining to participate, policy cancellations, no security, etc, etc. Yeah, let's all sign up for some of that.

  • Damion45

    Oh my. This is similar to the national average in that sign-ups are down 90% on their projections. Must be making a lot of insurance providers nervous in that the ones who are signing up are chronically ill and have large health care costs, while those who are healthy have better things to do with what little money they have.
    So government, once again, does what it does best...spends more than there is to pay for it. Nothing new here...just bigger and better than ever!
    Guess what the next fix is going to be!

  • TheFungoKnows

    “There are mechanisms to balance out that risk,” Bryant said. “But there’s a lot of speculation there won’t be enough to make them whole unless we get a lot more people enrolled.”

    In other words, it is called a taxpayer bailout.