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ACA signups: Horizon, AmeriHealth N.J. dominating the Marketplace

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Horizon BCBS and AmeriHealth N.J. are dominating the Heathcare.gov Marketplace.
Horizon BCBS and AmeriHealth N.J. are dominating the Heathcare.gov Marketplace. - ()

Most New Jerseyans who've purchased health insurance on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace — Healthcare.gov — chose plans from two well-known insurance brands: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and AmeriHealth New Jersey.

"We are still finalizing our information, but we estimate that approximately 100,000 members enrolled during the open enrollment period, continuing Horizon's top market share position in New Jersey's individual market," Horizon spokesman Tom Vincz said. "We expected a surge of enrollments in the closing weeks and we intensified our marketing and outreach efforts during this period."
AmeriHealth N.J. said 80 percent of the 118,766 new members it signed up for plans taking effect through May 1, or about 95,000,  came on board via the Marketplace.  The rest enrolled directly with AmeriHealth N.J. through its website or insurance brokers.
"Overall, enrollment has exceeded our expectations," AmeriHealth NJ spokeswoman Jill Roman said. "We believe this is the direct result of the wide range of competitively priced products we have to offer."
Under the ACA, individuals must sign up on the Marketplace in order to get federal subsidies that substantially reduce the cost of health insurance for low and moderate income people.

The federal government released preliminary numbers last week showing that 161,775 Jerseyans bought insurance policies on the Marketplace since healthcare.gov launched Oct. 1 on healthcare.gov. The health insurers are reporting enrollment numbers that exceed the numbers reported by the government.
And the numbers will continue to change.
While open enrollment on healthcare.gov officially ended March 31, individuals can still sign up throughout 2014, as their  existing policies expire and can be replaced with plans that meet the new ACA rules.  
In addition, 98,240 New Jerseyans have signed up for Medicaid, which covers more than 1 million low-income state resident and is undergoing a huge expansion under the ACA. The state of New Jersey contracts with health insurers to provide the Medicaid program, and Horizon is the largest provider.
"We have seen our Medicaid business grow by more than 50,000 to over 600,000 members, and we expect that figure to rise as the state completes its processing of all applications received during the enrollment period," Vincz said.
Joel Cantor, director of the Center for State Health Policy, said the healthcare.gov enrollment "exceeds" expectations for New Jersey.
"We saw quite a surge at the end of open enrollment," he said. "I think this bodes well for the market."
Cantor said that since individuals can continue to buy new policies on the ACA during 2014, as their non-ACA compliant policies run out, it will be several months before  a full picture emerges of how many new customers the insurance companies have gained via healthcare.gov.  
"At this point, though, I think it is safe to say that competition has become more vigorous in this market," he said. "That can only be a good thing."
The third insurer on the Marketplace, the new co-op Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey that was  created by the ACA, said it has garnered a small share of the signups but said the actual total was not yet known.
"Our numbers are not completely finalized yet," spokeswoman Cynthia Jay said.

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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