Just realized: Younger = Fewer Married, Fewer Kids. 7.6M - 7.8M? (UPDATED)
(Sigh) See, this is why, when I said "I'm not gonna do the prediction thing this time" I should have stuck with that.
Dan Pfeiffer's statement about "200K this week" on Meet the Press yesterday (which was down about 1/3 from what I was figuring) got me thinking about the contrast between his statement and Peter Lee's (head of CoverCA) statement about CA having around 250K potential QHP enrollees in the queue.
It just occurred to me this morning that while my assumption about the number of applications is probably correct, my assumption about the number of individuals covered by those applications could be way too high...because that assumes that each application includes my standard 1.8x multiplier for spouses & kids in the household.
However, if the tail-end people enrolling now really are the younger folks that everyone seems to think they are, that also means that they're a lot less likely to be married and have kids. That works the other way as well: People who have dependents are a lot more likely to make sure they have their health insurance squared away than single people. I know this because I was one of those in my 20's; being young and (in my case) stupid, I assumed that either a) I wouldn't get sick or b) if I did, whatever it was would probably be fatal, and I didn't have anyone depending on me. Yeah, that was pretty dumb logic, but that's how I rolled back then.
So...OK, I'm gonna do the opposite of what I usually do at this point: Instead of narrowing in on a number, I'm going to widen the range because there's just too many unknowns here. I'm still leaving
8M at the high end (partly just because it'd be awesome to hit such a nice, round figure), but I'm lowering the bottom of the range down to 7.6 million on the assumption that the extension-period enrollees will have a high percentage of single/no-kid people.
Hope I'm wrong and am simply over-thinking this...which is exactly what I promised I wasn't gonna do this time around lol...
UPDATE: OK, that was stupid of me. I can't leave 8M at the high end of the range just because "that would be cool". If the data and my gut are telling me we aren't gonna hit 8M after all, I gotta go with those. New high-end projection: 7.8M.
BONUS: On the other hand, this should make you feel better: The good news is that if exchange QHPS do hit 7.6 million in the end, guess what? Using my 93% "Paid or Will Pay Within Reasonable Time" rule of thumb, that should work out to at least 7.068 million paid shortly after the due date for the first premium.
Scratch one more GOP attack point.