Estimated Exchange QHPs as of April 15, 2014: 8.03M

Estimated Total, all sources: (14.4 M - 23.5 M)

Individual QHP Range: (7.47M - 13.03M)  •  Medicaid/CHIP (5.23M - 7.29M)

ESIs (106K confirmed; up to 8.2M more possible)  •  Sub26ers (1.60M - 3.10M)

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Not that this is particularly surprising after my prior post, but yes, I've been diagnosed with a nasty case of Shingles. That would be bad enough, but making it worse is that it's on my face (usually it's on the torso), meaning that my right eyelid is swollen over, making it very difficult to see, read or type more than a few sentences at a time.

As a result, I probably won't be able to post any more updates at all for a few days, which will likely mean a bunch of them posted all at once this weekend (or whenever the swelling goes down).

Please do keep sending updates in, however; I'll just flag them for later reference.

Thanks, all. Talk to you when I can.

...no reason at all. Really.

Shingles is most common in older adults and people who have weak immune systems because of stress, injury, certain medicines, or other reasons. Most people who get shingles will get better and will not get it again.

Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus "sleeps" (is dormant) in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus "wakes up" when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system. Some medicines may trigger the virus to wake up and cause a shingles rash. It is not clear why this happens. But after the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles, not chickenpox.

You can't catch shingles from someone else who has shingles. But there is a small chance that a person with a shingles rash can spread the virus to another person who hasn't had chickenpox and who hasn't gotten the chickenpox vaccine.

Shingles symptoms happen in stages. At first you may have a headache or be sensitive to light. You may also feel like you have the flu but not have a fever.

Well that just figures. Less than 24 hours after the big 8M QHP announcement, I started coming down with...something.

afyer a miserable Easter weekend (I'm Jewish, so no biggie), Its gotten bad enough that I'm off to the doctor.

So, between the relative dearth of updates and me being out of commission anyway, expect things to be quiet here for a few days.

More to come when I'm able. 

Earlier in the week I noted that Hawaii's Health Connector website was still vulnerable to the infamous Heartbleed OpenSSL bug. I'm happy to say that it has since been patched.

This naturally raised the question of whether the main Federal exchange website, Healthcare.gov, was also vulnerable. I checked the site the day that the Heartbleed story went public last Wednesday and it did not show up as being vulnerable. In addition, on that same day Mashable reported that HC.gov was NOT one of the major sites impacted by the bug.

However, just to be certain (and because, frankly, it's a good idea to reset your password every six months or so anyway), the HHS Dept. has taken the precaution of doing a batch password reset for every account on the site:

Latest Vermont Health Connect stats

• 52,156: Vermonters who used the Vermont Health Connect website, call center or navigators to shop for 2013 health insurance and now have coverage.

• 24,888: Vermonters who purchased commercial coverage through Vermont Health Connect.

• 27,268: Vermonters who shopped on Vermont Health Connect but qualified and are now enrolled in Medicaid. Eligibility expanded under the federal Affordable Care Act.

• 33,549: Vermonters previously covered by the Vermont Health Access Program and Catamount Health who the state enrolled automatically in Medicaid based on income information on record.

It seems a bit odd to me that Maryland is issuing a formal press release today when their extension period doesn't end until tonight or tomorrow (why leave a couple days of stragglers?), but whatever; the increase in exchange QHPs from 4/09 to 4/14 was only 1,017, so I guess they figure that it won't be more than a few hundred from 4/15 - 4/18 anyway.

In any event, they say they aren't issuing any more updates until mid-May, so for all practical purposes, this closes the books on Maryland for now:

Please note, we will begin reporting on a monthly basis, on the third Friday of each month. Our next report will be May 16, 2014.

As of April 15, 2014, 262,619 individuals have gained Medicaid coverage in 2014 and remain active in Medicaid. This includes the 95,889 PAC enrollees who were automatically converted on January 1, 2014 to full Medicaid coverage.

As of April 14, 2014, 66,203 individuals have enrolled in a qualified health plan. 

OK, now that we're past the April 15 cut-off period, I can close the books for 2014 enrollments, right?

Well, no. As I've noted many times before, Medicaid enrollments and SHOP (Small Business) enrollments are year-round; there's no deadline for those.

OK...but what about Exchange QHPs? Surely those are shut down for the year, right?

Well, no. Again, as I've noted before, the appx. 5 million Native Americans in the U.S. don't have a deadline, and of course anyone can still enroll or change plans if they have a Qualifying Life Event such as having a baby, getting married/divorced, losing their job, moving to a different state and so on.

OK...but what about everyone else? April 15th was the deadline, right?

Well, no. Here's a roundup of the state-by-state deadlines (which have been changing every day, but seem to have finally settled down for real):

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