Several regular commenters here at ACA Signups have been wondering why the Congressional Budget Office keeps using March 2016 as the "baseline" for projecting the net impact on healthcare coverage numbers under the GOP's Trumpcare bills (the House's AHCA and the Senate's BCRAP), as opposed to the more recent January 2017 baseline. After all, according to the March 2016 baseline, the CBO was projecting that under the ACA, the total individual market would have 25 million people as of 2026 (18 million on the exchanges plus another 7 million off-exchange), whereas under the January 2017 baseline, their projections are for the individual market to only be 20 million as of 2027 (13 million on the exchanges plus 7 million off-exchange). Taken at face value, this would seem to suggest a 5 million enrollee discrepancy. This drumbeat has been taken up more recently by GOP Senators, particularly Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.
"We realize it's a shorter period so we have to get people in the door quicker," said Andrew Ratner, chief marketing officer for Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, which runs the marketplace.
Sign-ups have been brisk so far, with more than 5,000 people picking plans in the first two days, nearly twice as many as last year. The Maryland Health Connection website, which usually closes at 11 p.m., had to stay open an hour later on Wednesday because 300 people were still online. Maryland currently has about 120,000 Obamacare enrollees.
That same day in Connecticut [Wednesday, Nov. 1st], 1,596 residents enrolled in qualified health plans on the state exchange while another 2,293 people either completed Medicaid applications or determined that they were eligible for that program. Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh said in a statement that the state’s call center and website experienced a 15 percent increase in volume compared to opening day last year.
Not much to add here; last year the first enrollment number I had for Connecticut didn't show up until halfway through November (about 16,000 selections in 15 days), but that doesn't give me much to compare with for the first day only. Still, the 15% traffic increase is a good thing.
Press release from MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:
MNsure update on first week of open enrollment
ST. PAUL—MNsure CEO, Allison O’Toole, issued the following statement recapping the first full week of open enrollment:
“The first seven days of this year’s open enrollment period have gone smoothly. We are off to a strong start and doing a steady business of enrolling Minnesotans in health care coverage. Market disruptions last year— including a large jump in premiums, a major carrier pulling out of the market, the first year of enrollment caps as well as other factors—drove large numbers of consumers to our doors in the first few days of last year’s enrollment period. This year, we are seeing a much steadier flow of traffic to the website that is more in line with what we would expect. Call wait times have been consistently low throughout this first week.”
This year, MNsure renewed more people into coverage than ever before. Open enrollment figures will be released next Wednesday at MNsure’s public board meeting.
(sigh) OK, I wasn't planning on doing week-by-week estimates/projections given how batcrap insane this Open Enrollment Period is (not just in terms of the sabotage efforts and repeal lunacy, but also due to the time window being slashed in half for most states). In the end, however, my inner data geek got the better of me, so here we are.
Today is November 7th. The 2018 Open Enrollment Period's first week ends at midnight tonight. Here's what we know so far:
Unlike most states, the Massachuetts exchange also handles premium billing/payments themselves, so they have a more elaborate enrollment reporting system. However, I've confirmed the following breakout:
628: Current enrollees, plans selected
3,860: Current enrollees, plans selected/paid
445: Returning* enrollees, plans selected
215: Returning enrollees, plans selected/paid
1,375: New enrollees, plans selected
472: New enrollees, plans selected/paid
Total: 6,995 total plans selected, of which 4,547 are fully enrolled (i.e., 1st premium paid).
*"Returning enrollees" means someone who's already in the MA exchange system because they were previously enrolled in an exchange policy in the past but isn't currently enrolled in one. For instance, they might have been enrolled from 2015-2016, but then left the exchange for 2017 and is returning for 2018.
For awhile now I've been noting that making predictions about how many people will actually enroll in ACA exchange plans for 2018 is extremely difficult to do for a variety of reasons. On the one hand, Donald Trump has been desperately trying to sabotage the law any way he can, including everything from slashing outreach funding by 90% and cutting the enrollment period in half to cutting off Cost Sharing Reduction reimbursement payments...while at the same time Congressional Republicans have been desperately trying to repeal the law outright. All of this has caused a tremendous amount of confusion, as well as causing average unsubsidized premiums to shoot up around 30% on average nationally.
As both the largest-population state in the country and the largest state-based exchange under the ACA, Covered California provides an important guideline for me when it comes to attempting to track national enrollment data. They hold over 12% of the total U.S. population and enrolled 12.7% of all ACA exchange enrollments for 2017, coming in second only to Florida's 14.4%.
Today I confirmed that on Day One of the 2018 Open Enrollment Period, CoveredCA signed up 5,979 people...around 25% more than they did on Nov. 1st last year.
According to our CSR Load Load spreadsheet, Hawaii is supposed to be one of the 20-odd states using the full "Silver Switcharoo" strategy. It also has a single Rating Area, and only has two carriers (Kaiser and HMSA) participating in the individual market (on or off-exchange) anyway, making it a pretty easy state to run a full apples-to-apples year over year comparison.
Kaiser is offering a total of 11 plans on the ACA exchange (3 Bronze, 3 Silver, 3 Gold and 2 Platinum), while HMSA lists 10 (2 Bronze, 3 Silver, 3 Gold and 2 Platinum). I couldn't run a perfect comparison to 2017 since each carrier changed a couple of their offerings, but it's pretty darned close.
Over 32,000 unique visitors and 886,000 page views
At peak we had 3,534 concurrent users when on 11/1 last year our peak was of 2,699 concurrent users
2,108 QHP plans selected by customers who either did not have a 2018 enrollment or switched away from the plan they were auto-enrolled into
Over 800 new downloads of the WAHBE mobile app
No significant system issue was encountered
In addition, unlike the federal exchange and most state exchanges, instead of waiting until after the initial wave of erollments are out of the way, Washington auto-renews existing enrollees right up front, but then changes their policies as people log in and switch to a different policy (or cancels the renewals if people don't pay up or inform them that they're not renewing):
Even before President Donald Trump announced plans last week to nix Obamacare subsidies, the Illinois Department of Insurance raced over the summer to get insurers on board with a strategy to minimize the financial pain of such a move.
...Trump on Oct. 12 ordered the federal government to stop paying the cost-sharing subsidies provided to insurers to defray the cost of covering low-income people. But the Rauner administration has found a way to make the federal government pick up the tab anyway.
Enrollments in health insurance through the state’s health exchange was robust on the first day of open enrollment Wednesday, with more people signing up for insurance than last year, officials said Thursday.
Advocates and others had expressed concern that consumers would be confused by political wrangling and policy changes to the Affordable Care Act from the administration of Pres. Donald Trump that led to last-minute rate increases and a severe decrease in marketing dollars for the program.
But exchange officials reported that enrollments under the law, known as Obamacare, were up 70 percent to more than 1,800 compared with 1,055 on the first day a year ago. About 150,000 people signed up for private insurance on the exchange in the state last year and more enrolled directly through insurers.