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Highmark reports strong Obamacare marketplace enrollment

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By the end of the open enrollment period on healthcare.gov, Highmark expects to have 150,000 to 200,000 enrollees from it across its service area of Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, Highmark Health President & CEO Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr. said today.

“As a proportion of our size, we’re probably number one in the country. We’ve seen extraordinary enrollment,” Winkenwerder said. For example, he said, WellPoint was at one point identified as having the most Obamacare enrollment of any company at about 500,000 enrollees — but WellPoint has about 35 million members to Highmark’s roughly 5.3 million.

Currently more than 110,000 people have selected Highmark plans through healthcare.gov, he said. He would not specify what percentage had officially completed their enrollment by paying for their plans, but he said it is a high percentage and that “people so far — with some exception — are paying their bills for enrolling.”

The numbers are roughly in line with Highmark’s early expectations, Winkenwerder said, and significantly exceed “where we thought we’d be a few months ago.”

“Right now, based on what we know of the characteristics of people enrolled, we’d say the products were appropriately priced,” he said.

Highmark did not provide a state-by-state breakdown of its plans but said that the pace of enrollment has continued to pick up in January. On Jan. 13, the insurer announced that its marketplace enrollment effective Jan. 1 was as follows: Pennsylvania, 37,132; West Virginia, 4,651; and Delaware, 2,902.

Winkenwerder also noted that a lot of the healthcare.gov enrollees have chosen Community Blue, the plan Highmark introduced last year that uses a more selective network to target cost, which has also been popular among non-Marketplace members. In its first six months, it had more than 180,000 members, he said, and Highmark expects it will exceed 200,000 in the next month or two.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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