END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

Time: D H M S

Charles Gaba's blog

Here you go...hot off the presses...um, Twitter-feed, anyway...

@charles_gaba MT @igorvolsky: BREAKING: Obama says on a call that 6 million people have enrolled in Obamacare.

— Seth Trueger (@MDaware) March 27, 2014

Things are moving VERY quickly now, and events are quickly overtaking my ability to keep up. I'll post more details as quickly as possible, but all sorts of stuff may get by me.

For example, I just added this update from the WSJ, which claims 100K QHPs per day on Mon/Tue.

UPDATE: Just received confirmation that the 6M milestone was indeed reached sometime yesterday (Wednesday).

 

Note: This entry is purely speculative at this point (I'm ignoring Gandalf's advice here and straying off the path).

OK, earlier today I said:

IF it's true that around 79,000 people per day have been enrolling nationally all of this week, that means that yes, we could indeed have already surpassed the 6 million mark...THIS week.

My current projection has exchange QHPs breaking the 6M mark sometime late today (Thursday) or early tomorrow (Friday), but it's conceivable that we did already pass it late last night or early this morning.

Then, about an hour ago, I posted this update which embraced the bold-faced part of that last sentence:

I'm gonna go for it and predict an announcement later today that the 6 million exchange QHP milestone has been hit.

OK, I'm probably gonna go down in flames for this, but this "50K Households Started Applications Yesterday" tweet from Covered California keeps coming to mind.

50,000 households started #CoveredCA health insurance applications yesterday - our highest number yet.

— Covered California (@CoveredCA) March 26, 2014

I'm gonna go for it and predict an announcement later today that the 6 million exchange QHP milestone has been hit.

(to clarify: if they announce it today, it probably actually crossed 6M sometime last night or early this morning)

I'm leaving the 3/31 projection as 6.39M for the moment, but will update this (or not) depending on whether I'm correct about a 6M announcement (or not).

Just to get this out of the way since so many have asked...

April D. Ryan, who broke the awesome scoop about HC.gov enrolling 40K in a single day back on 3/15, reported a very eye-opening claim yesterday: That supposedly total exchange QHP enrollments had already broken the 6 million mark last week:

Sources who do not wish to be identified, contend last week that the ACA enrollment numbers surpassed the six million mark.  A source also says  ”People are swarming to the healthcare.gov website and enrollments are rising.” On Tuesday March 25, 2014 over 1.2 million people visited the healthcare.gov website.  Enrollments have exceeded 60,000 per day since Sunday March 23, 2014.

The White House denied the claim, but her sources insisted that it was true:

No exact numbers, but the previous update as of 3/15 was 22,533 paid / 10,520 unpaid (33,053 total), so this looks right. NV's March pace is still running around 45% above February's daily average.

As of March 22, more than 35,000 people have signed up for a health insurance plan. Approximately 23,000 of them have already started making payments on their health care coverage.

As usual with Massachusetts, there's a lot of weird numbers flying around in this article (and therefore, no new hard enrollment numbers to add at the moment), but there's some other important stuff right in the lede:

BOSTON -- Massachusetts residents who have had difficulty signing up through the Health Connector for unsubsidized health insurance coverage will be given an extra two weeks to enroll under an extension plan to be presented Thursday, two days after President Barack Obama announced a similar reprieve for frustrated consumers on the national level.

...Residents who have had trouble completing enrollment to due technical problems with the website will be allowed to shop online for unsubsidized plans through April 15, with payment due April 23 for coverage starting on May 1.

OK, first, there's the standard "you get until 4/15 as long as you started by 3/31" bit which is all the rage (seriously, I think Connecticut is the only state not extending enrollment in one way or another at this point, while Rhode Island nor Hawaii are the only other states not to chime in one way or another...which is insane in the case of Hawaii).

A nice little update out of DC...they even did the net gain math for me! Unfortunately they didn't separate out QHPs from Medicaid (the 17,899 number includes both).

If I assume the a slightly lower 32/68 breakout of the new enrollments (it was 36/64), that should mean an extra 1,410 QHPs and 2,996 Medicaid enrollees.

That gives a total of 7,926 exchange QHPs and 14,379 new Medicaid total.

DC's numbers are so small that I'd normally say that even if my breakout is wrong, it won't impact the projection enough to worry about...but in this case, they were running 40% below the February rate, so this jump to 26% higher actually bumps the projection back up a smidge after all, to a solid 6.4M.

Since March 10 (the last data release), enrollment through DC Health Link increased significantly.  To date a total of 22,305 people have enrolled through DC Health Link’s individual marketplace, up from 17,899 on March 10.  This is an increase of 4,406 people just in the last few weeks. (Note this data does not include enrollment through the small business marketplace.) 

(someone sent me this link, and after the Louisiana/North Carolina debacle a few days back I figured I owed a bit of good Red State news...)

Community health centers offering counseling for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment process say they are experiencing a surge in the number of people seeking help ahead of the March 31st deadline.

At the David Raines Community Health Centers corporate office in Shreveport, appointments are completely booked through next Monday's deadline, according to Community Development Coordinator, Calvin Young.

"Being in healthcare and kind of understanding how people work and think we anticipated a big surge at the end, but the surge has been a little overwhelming," Young says.

This is a great article for several reasons. Not only is it the first Georgia-specific update I've received, but the numbers are quite good (daily average over 2x that of February) and very straightforward (they don't explicitly state that the 178K are QHPs only, but they include the 3/01 total of 139K and I alrleady checked the 3/01 Medicaid tally, which is quite a bit more than 38K, so it's definitely not included here).

As a surprise bonus, it includes the Paid/Unpaid data for Georgia...which is over 81%, within the 80-85 range that most insurers have been reporting of late. Finally, the data comes directly from the state insurance commissioner, so there should be no mistranslations going on.

State insurance officials said Wednesday that 177,668 Georgians have completed applications for coverage in the health exchange as of March 15.

That number, reported by health insurers in the state, reflects a recent surge in enrollees from the latest figures released by the federal government. As of the end of February, federal officials said, Georgia’s exchange enrollment totaled 139,371.

Earlier this evening I ran an update on Illinois which claimed 323K total exchange enrollments. Since IL had 114K QHPs and 132K Medicaid enrollments as of 3/01 (246K total) that seemed like a decent, if unremarkable update...about 17% above the February daily rate.

However, contributor deaconblues tipped me off that other Illinois stories floating around today seemed to indicate that the 323K figure might actually be the 3/01 numbers, plus another 77K or so of unspecified enrollments. I double-checked with GetCovered Illinois, and sure enough, received this response:

@charles_gaba 113,733 in QHPs, the other 200K Medicaid (as of 03/01). Tricky in part because Cook County got advance dispensation to enroll.

— Erik Wallenius (@ErikWallenius) March 27, 2014

OK, so never mind the earlier Illinois update; my apologies for the error. This also means that I can't use Illinois in the projection table at all, which is fine, since it was actually dragging the projection down anyway lol...

Blammo. Remember how I noted that back in December, California managed to hit 30K exchange QHPs in a single day, and 20K/day for several other days between Christmas and New Year's Eve?

Well, it looks like we've hit the 20K/day mark. From today's L.A. Times:

The site — the main portal for insurance marketplaces in 36 states — drew 1.2 million visitors Tuesday and 1.1 million visitors Monday, according to the administration.

Over the same period, call centers received more than 500,000 calls. California's state-run health insurance exchange reported a similar surge in interest, with nearly 40,000 people picking a health plan Monday and Tuesday.

Now, this is awesome news, as it suggests a national rate of around 100K/day (CA has averaged around 20% of the national QHP enrollments all along).

However, it also poses a slight dilemma for me, since there's an 8 day gap between the existing March data (03/02 - 03/15) and these 2 days (03/24 - 03/25).

In spite of their endless technical issues, Oregon is actually kicking serious butt in manually processing a mountain of paper applications. In addition, they're including some interesting extra info in their reports lately--including NET enrollments after cleaning out cancellations/etc (does this mean Oregon is now only including paid enrollments, then, like MA and WA??), as well as dental enrollments, which haven't gotten much attention from anyone:

Medical enrollments through Cover Oregon: 175,534
Total private medical insurance enrollments through Cover Oregon1: 52,654                       

Oregon Health Plan enrollments through Cover Oregon: 122,880

Dental enrollments 
Total private dental insurance enrollments through CoverOregon 1: 10,628                       

Net enrollments 
Net private medical2:  50,137
Net private dental 2: 9,877

This number out of Illinois was as much of an eyebrow-raiser as the NC/LA incident a few nights ago. However, it looks like this is a combined total of QHPs and Medicaid, which were at 113,733 and 131,995 respectively as of 3/01. Combined, that's about 246,000, with a 46/54 split.

For now, I'm going to play it safe and assume that this has shifted towards the Medicaid side a bit since then by calling it a 43/57 split, or around 139K QHPs & 184K Medicaid enrollments.

If I'm fairly close on this split, this represents a modest 17% increase over February's rate, which actually drops the projection a bit...but if I'm underestimating the QHP number, then I'm also underestimating the projection impact (sigh)...

To date, 323,000 uninsured Illinois residents have enrolled in health insurance plans, according to Get Covered Illinois, administrator of the state's official marketplace. As the March 31 enrollment deadline approaches, officials with the agency believe they will meet the state's target of having 143,000 more enrolled.

OK, no hard numbers here, but how often am I gonna be able to post any sort of update out of Wyoming? Anyway, very encouraging anecdotal/fractional news:

Jackson insurance agent Lisa Reeber said she has also seen the last-minute stampede.

“I’ve been completely overwhelmed,” Reeber said. “I’ve been turning down appointments for a week and a half.

“My goal was 200 applications when I started,” she said, but “it’s been like 450.”

About two-thirds of her recent customers, she said, have been people who came to her with no insurance.

Insurance company WINHealth, one of only two in the state participating, is reporting a similar situation. The company reports it has already exceeded its expected enrollment by 20 percent and is still seeing new clients every day.

“We’ve had a significant increase,” said John Gardner, chief business development officer at WINHealth. “I wouldn’t even hesitate to use the word ‘surge’ in the last 10 days.”

Also be sure to note that line in the middle: 2/3 were not previously insured.

Minnesota was already doing pretty well, having surpassed their own internal goal of 135K QHP/Medicaid combined as of yesterday, of which over 36K were QHPs...but they released quite a jaw-dropper just a day later, with the QHP figure leaping up another 5,097 thanks to pushing through a mountain of paper applications.

Numbers released Wednesday at the MNsure board's regular meeting actually look better than those the agency highlighted in a Tuesday press release. On Wednesday, MNsure was able to add people who enrolled using paper applications  – and now the exchange can announce it has enrolled 148,068 people, including 41,273 people who used the exchange to purchase private health plans.

This brings MN's totals to 41,273 exchange QHPs and 106,795 new Medicaid enrollees.

The impact on the projection table?

In February, Minnesota averaged 122 QHPs/day. Prior to today's update, they were averaging 180/day in March, a 48% increase over February.

With these paper additions, this has skyrocketed to 385/day...over 3.1x February's rate. 

Pages