Charles Gaba's blog

2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

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OK, it's difficult to get a bead on how Oregon has been performing since the end of open enrollment, because they bumped theirs out 2 weeks beyond most other states. Even so, they've added 19,214 additional QHP enrollees since the 4/19 HHS report, or over 350 per day.

Interestingly, there's been no change at all in their reported Medicaid enrollment; I'm assuming they just didn't include that data this week since it's changed some every other time.

June 12, 2014
Update: Private coverage and Oregon Health Plan enrollment through Cover Oregon

Medical enrollments through Cover Oregon: 299,452
Total private medical insurance enrollments through Cover Oregon: 87,522
Oregon Health Plan enrollments through Cover Oregon: 211,930

Dental enrollments 
Total private dental insurance enrollments through Cover Oregon 1: 17,751          

Net enrollments 
Net private medical: 80,340
Net private dental: 15,574
 

Connector Updates for June 7, 2014
Total since October 1, 2013

32,625 Applications completed in the Individual Marketplace
9,482 Individuals and families enrolled in the Individual Marketplace
631 Employers applied to SHOP Marketplace
846 Employees and dependents enrolled via SHOP Marketplace
 

More positive Medicaid news out of Arkansas (the 75% figure refers to those fully enrolled, but it's actually a bit higher: 76.4%. If you go by "determinations" it's even better, over 83% of the total eligible):

DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb said the figures released cover the month of May.

“Over 187,000 have been determined eligible. Just over 172,000 of those have already completed the enrollment process and now have full access to their private health insurance coverage. Overall we estimate that about 225,000 Arkansans would be eligible for the program so we’re about 75 percent there,” said Webb.

(I should note that the KFF estimates Arkansas' Medicaid-expansion-eligible number at more like 281K, but those are rough numbers and this woman is from the actual state program speaking so I'll defer to her on it).

A trifecta of updates out of the LA Times today thanks to contributor Brian W; can you count how many GOP talking points take serious damage below:

New data show the number of students without health insurance on California State University campuses dropped by 60% after Obamacare enrollment, defying concerns that not enough young people would sign up for health insurance.

...During the open enrollment period that ended in April, some officials worried that if not enough young, healthy people signed up for coverage, insurance companies would be left with too many sick and expensive customers, which would eventually cause carriers to raise premiums.

According to a poll released Thursday, at the 15 largest CSU campuses, approximately 30% of students were uninsured before enrollment began, and 10% were uninsured after. The drop accounts for 60,000 students who became insured, and illustrates the late surge of young people who signed up for policies.

Meanwhile...

So, yesterday I posted an item about how the ACA has cut Kentucky's uninsured rate by at least 50% since last October. This is significant news, but I also posted similar items about impressive uninsured rate drops in New Jersey (38%), Minnesota (40%) and especially Massachusetts (a good 86% or so, down to nearly zilch). All four posts received various levels of retweets on Twitter. However, the Kentucky one in particular apparently caught the eye of one David Simas, aka the "Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy."

This press release JUST showed up in my in box; I don't have a link to it on WA's website, so I'm reposting it verbatim below (emphasis mine):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 12, 2014

Media contact: Public Affairs (360) 725-7055

Individual health insurance market expands more than 30 percent – enrollment now at 327,000

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The individual health insurance market grew  30 percent in one year to more than 327,000 people in Washington state, according to new information reported by health insurers to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

The latest enrollment numbers and other insurance market data also indicate that Washington state has succeeded in reducing the number of uninsured by more than 370,000.

Today’s individual market total includes 171,286 people enrolled outside the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, Wahealthplanfinder, and 156,155 people enrolled inside the Exchange as of June 1, 2014.

Since today seems to be "How much has the ACA cut the uninsured rate by in this state/that state?" day, I thought I'd dust off this TPM article from way back on April 1st:

Obamacare has cut Kentucky's uninsured population by more than 40 percent, signing up roughly 360,000 residents since enrollment opened up on Oct. 1, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Some 75 percent of them -- 270,000 -- were previously uninsured. That means Kentucky's uninsured population of 640,000 has come down by 42 percent.

At the time, the headline read "Obamacare Cuts Kentucky's Uninsured Rate By 40 Percent", which was impressive enough. However, that was wayyyy back over 2 months ago. A little simple math tells the rest of the story:

Quite possibly the lamest response to a "Good Obamacare News!" tweet I've seen to date, although it does crystalize the "taking our ball and going home" attitude taken by the GOP since open enrollment closed:

Geppetto checkmark RT @charles_gaba: #ACASignups No matter how you slice it, 2/3 of Americans want to keep Ocare: http://t.co/Pbb0ZBlzCY

— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) June 12, 2014

Meanwhile, Iraq that Obama abandoned disintegrates into chaos @ThePlumLineGS @charles_gaba #SmartDiplomacy #Reset

— Jim Branch (@jamesbranch3) June 12, 2014

The question above is rhetorical, because I already know the answer.

From the original, utterly debunked "Only 67% have paid!" press release:

House Energy and Commerce Committee members sent letters requesting specific enrollment data, including the number of individuals who have paid their first month’s premium and demographic breakdowns. The committee has compiled the data that provides a snapshot of the true enrollment picture as of April 15, 2014, after the official end of the open enrollment period. Due to the administration’s repeated and unilateral extensions and changes, as well as the fact that many insurers have reported that individuals will still have time to pay their first month’s premium, the committee plans to ask the insurers in the federally facilitated marketplace to provide an enrollment update by May 20, 2014.

Greg Sargent has a nice piece in the WaPo this morning about a new Bloomberg News poll which uses "more accurate" wording to see what the latest zeitgeist on the ACA is, now that the dust has settled on the first open enrollment period:

...some of the law’s foes like to claim those polls are problematic because they offer a choice between “fixing” and “repealing” the law. This, they say, biases responses in favor of “fix,” because people like fixing things, and at any rate, Obamacare can’t be fixed by definition.

So this new Bloomberg News poll will pose an additional problem to those who simply refuse to accept the reality that, while disapproval of the law remains high, the American people still want to stick with it:

What is your opinion of the health care law?

As I noted last week, the whole "Obamacare is socialism!!" mantra, which was always stupid in the first place, looks even sillier now with the news coming in from state after state that more and more private insurance companies are jumping into the ACA exchange pool. Now comes news from my own state of Michigan that the number on the exchange for the 2015 open enrollment season will climb from 13 to a whopping 18:

LANSING — Additional insurers are asking to join Michigan's Health Insurance Marketplace.

The state said today that it has received filing information from 18 health insurance companies wanting to be included in 2015 — five more than participated last year.

Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Ann Flood said state residents seeking coverage through the marketplace will have even more plans to choose from and that "increased competition helps keep premiums lower."

For some reason people are geeking out about the news that Minnesota's uninsured rate has dropped by 40% since last fall. Don't get me wrong, this is fantastic news; I'm just not sure why it's getting more of a response than, say, New Jersey's uninsured rate dropping 38%, or especially Massachusetts' rate plummeting down from 3.6% to virtually ZILCH (around an 86% drop if you assume 0.5% today).

Still, this doesn't take anything away from Minnesota's accomplishment; Mazel Tov all around!

The uninsured rate in Minnesota has fallen by more than 40 percent since the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion started, a new report from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center shows.

The analysis appears to be the first assessment of how a state's uninsured rate has changed since the insurance expansion began in October. It shows that, between September 2013 and May 2014, the number of uninsured Minnesotans fell from 445,000 to about 264,500.

Wow! New Jersey's ACA Medicaid Expansion is up to over 201,000 people (43% of the total eligible population), helping reduce the state's uninsured rate from 21.2% to 13.2% in the past 8 months:

A monthly enrollment report showed that 1,485,576 state residents were covered by FamilyCare, which includes coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. That total represented a 45,674-person increase from April and a 201,095-person increase since January 1, when the eligibility expansion went into effect.

The numbers suggest that the number of uninsured New Jerseyans has continued to fall since early March, when a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-sponsored survey found that the percentage of state residents without insurance had already fallen to 13.2 percent, down from 21.2 percent in September.

Minnesota continues to quietly add enrollees to both QHPs (up 3,005 since the end of open enrollment) and Medicaid (up 44,567 since then):

June 9, 2014 

Health Coverage Type Total Enrollments 

  • Medical Assistance 136,303
  • MinnesotaCare 48,942
  • Qualified Health Plan (QHP) 51,500

TOTAL 236,745

That means Minnesota is averaging 51 additional QHPs per day during the "off season".

At the end of the official enrollment extension period (technically 4/19), Colorado's exchange QHP tally stood at 125,402. As of the end of May, it was up to 132,815, with SHOP enrollments up to 2,135. This means Colorado's QHP total went up around 6% since open enrollment ended, or around 177 per day.

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