Massachusetts: Good news: The new website should work! "Bad" news: All 400K people will have to re-enroll

Hat Tip To: 
Charles Ornstein

This is a classic case of one's attitude determining whether this is good or bad news. The headline and lede make a huge deal about 400,000 people having to re-enroll in the Massachusetts ACA exchange this winter...except that I've been pushing hard for everyone to be required to re-enroll once per year anyway regardless of whether their personal incomes/circumstances have changed over the past year or not...which means that to me, it's not only not a big deal that everyone in MA will be required to re-enroll, but it's actually a good thing:

Nearly 400,000 people in Massachusetts will need to reapply for health insurance before the end of the year, and many of them probably do not even know it.

They are people who do not have employer-sponsored health insurance and who instead sought insurance through the state. After the Massachusetts insurance website failed last year, most of them were enrolled in temporary coverage that ends Dec. 31, which is why they must select a new plan.

The article goes on to break down the numbers: 267K in "temporary" coverage by the state which ends on 12/31; another 100K temporarily in Commonwealth Care, and finally, the 34,000 people who actually did successfully enroll via the crippled website itself (hey, this is actually the first "update" of MA's numbers since early May!)

The good news is that a) MA will not be moving to HC.gov (important both as a point of pride for the home of RomneyCare as well as peace of mind given the still undetermined status of the Halbig federal court case), because b) it looks like they're confident that their new website platform has a green light to work (properly) for the 2015 open enrollment period:

Last week, the Connector announced it would remain a state-based exchange, using off-the-shelf software adapted by a Virginia technology company, hCentive. The state has abandoned backup preparations to join the federal marketplace, Healthcare.gov.

So, to review: Assuming their software and outreach efforts are successful, Massachusetts' QHP enrollment could, conceivably, skyrocket from just 34,000 to almost 12x that number...although the odds are, of course, that more than half of the 367,000 people in "limbo status" are likely to end up in Medicaid instead. Either way, successfully enrolling all of these people in one or the other could potentially drop MA's uninsured rate--estimated to only be 242K last fall--down to virtually zero by next spring.