It’s a Loss in Md: 73K Lose Insurance; 60K Enroll on Exchange

Melanie Arter | April 3, 2014 | 2:08pm EDT
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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( – The head of the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange testified Thursday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only 60,000 people have signed up for Obamacare through the state’s exchange - 13,000 less than the number of individuals reported to lose their insurance due to Obamacare.

“According to our reports, according to AP, press accounts, 73,000 individuals in Maryland were going to lose their insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, and what you’re telling me is your revised goal is approximately the same number – 75,000. So your revised goal of people you’re gonna sign up is: We’re gonna sign up the people who were kicked off of the Affordable Care Act,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said.

On Nov. 4, 2013, the Baltimore Sun reported: “About 73,000 policy holders around the state will lose their insurance in coming months because nine insurance companies are dropping some health plans that were not grandfathered under the Affordable Care Act, the Maryland Insurance Administration confirmed Monday.”

In prepared written testimony, Joshua Sharfstein, chair of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, said, “We expect that by the time the dust settles, more than 290,000 Marylanders will have enrolled in coverage since January 1, including more than 60,000 Marylanders in qualified health plans and more than 230,000 Marylanders in Medicaid.”

Jordan grilled Sharfstein on the statement he made earlier to the committee that Maryland was “meeting our goals.”

“I think a lot of people would disagree with that,” Jordan said. He pointed out that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) gave the state the goal of 150,000 enrollees in the individual exchange by April 1, “and as of April 1, as of a couple days ago, you’ve enrolled 60,000 people.”

According to Sharfstein, the Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland Baltimore County - not CMS – revised Maryland’s goal for enrollment in the individual market down from 150,000 to 75,000.

Sharfstein took issue with Jordan’s comparison of those who would lose insurance due to Obamacare to the number of Obamacare enrollees.

“You’re comparing apples and oranges with all due respect,” Sharfstein said.

“I’m comparing people who got kicked off because of this law, and I’m comparing the number you said you’re going to sign up through your exchange, which is far below roughly half of what the initial number that CMS gave you,” Jordan said.

“I think an apples to apples comparison would be the size of the individual market before and after, so whether people have coverage in the individual market before January 1st versus after, because some people don’t need subsidies. They’ll go right to a carrier,” Sharfstein said.

“We’re seeing not only just the exchange enrollment, the outside the exchange enrollment, which is probably going to be at least that, plus the fact that people could renew early. We’re gonna see a much bigger individual market. That’s the apples to apples comparison,” he added.

“I think you’re leaving out the fact that your calculation, what you just went through, those that are kicked off. There are certainly people who are now in the individual market. They just get kicked off their plan,” Jordan reiterated.

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