February HHS Enrollment Report Released: 943K QHPs, 4.242M Total

OK, as noted a little earlier, I underestimated the February HHS Report for Exchange-based Private QHP enrollment by about 4.2%:

  • My Projection: 902,800 (4.202 million total)
  • Actual Enrollments: 942,833 (4.242 million total)

I'm perfectly happy to have underestimated. As for where the extra 40,000 enrollments came from, my initial guess would be that California, in particular, started ramping up their big March blitz a bit earlier and more successfully than I figured, which, again, I'm absolutely fine with. Update: Nope, actually, California's numbers plummetted in the 2nd half of Feb due to that ugly technical outage; see below for details.

I'm busily plugging the new enrollment numbers into the spreadsheet even as I type this, and will be updating with various notes and observations, so keep checking in.

OK, I've entered the QHP data; a couple of things to note:

  • California: The first half of February, CA was averaging about 7,200/day. An article a few days ago stated that they're up to 8K/day now, but didn't say how long that had been the case. I split the difference and assumed about 7,600/day since 2/16, subtracting 3 days due to a nasty technical outage they had in the latter part of February. It turns out that the outage was far nastier than I thought; their daily average actually plummeted to only 2,900/day in the second half of the month, ouch! As a result, they will probably not hit the 1 million mark this week after all, although if the 8K/day figure is true (and refers only to QHPs, not Medicaid, which is what I was assuming before), they should still hit 1M around a week from today.
  • Rhode Island decided, for some reason, that they'd ALSO release updates today (thru 3/08), making my life that much more complicated. Updated.
  • Hawaii and Colorado also released updates today. Haven't done either of these yet, though I can't imagine Hawaii making much of an impact, to put it mildly.
  • Vermont: According to HHS, Vermont had 24,326 QHPs as of 3/01, but in Vermont's own update from Feb. 28th, they supposedly were up to over 33,000, of which over 28,000 had paid...as of 2/25. Not sure what to make of this; that 33K figure seemed awfully high to me at the time. I've decided to replace it with the official HHS number for now.
  • New York: Again, this is very strange. According to HHS, NY had 244,618 QHP enrollments as of 3/01. However, according to this NY State of Health Press Release, they were already at 251,306 as of 2/10, and this one has them at 276,681 as of 2/24. In their most recent update, from just yesterday the 10th, the QHP number is up to 299,836. I have no idea what's going on here, but I'm inclined to go with the NY numbers in this case.

MARCH PROJECTIONS:

  • In order to hit the CBO's lowered 6 million QHP mark, the exchanges will have to add 1.76 million by 3/31, which means averaging about 59,000 per day.
  • In order to hit the CBO's original 7 million QHP mark, the exchanges will ahve to add 2.76 million by 3/31, which means averaging about 92,000 per day.
  • For comparison, the combined exchanges averaged around:
    • 3,200/day in October,
    • 9,200/day in November,
    • 64,000/day in December,
    • 33,000/day in January, and
    • 34,000/day in February.

I'm not going to pretend that I can make a real projection for the 3/31 total with so little March data, but if you put a gun to my head and demanded that I give it my best guess at the moment, I'd say somewhere around 6.2 million, give or take. Again, this will likely change as the month progresses and actual data comes in.