END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

Time: D H M S

Good News: HHS has resolved income/citizenship data issues for 2.1 million people; Bad News: Still 480K to go (& still no enrollment updates)

So, here's the big news from CMS/HHS today: Remember the 966,000 people whose citizenship/immigration data didn't match up last May? Well, they've managed to resolve about 851,000 of those cases, yay! Also, remember the 1.2 million households with discrepancies regarding their income levels? Well, that represented about 1.6 million actual people, and they're reporting having resolved about 897,000 households, leaving around 279K to go (representing 363,000 individuals).

Assuming these numbers don't overlap (and they probably do in a few cases), that means CMS has worked through about 2.088 million data discrepancies, leaving around 478K to go. So...yay, team and all that.

As for those who remain, the 115K with immigrant/citizenship status issues need to send their correct documentation to Healthcare.Gov by the end of September to avoid losing coverage. They did say that there would be some sort of special enrollment period for those folks as long as they keep paying their premiums, but they were pretty clear about the September 30th deadline.

The 363K people with income discrepancies aren't at risk of losing their coverage, but they could lose their tax credits (if they're receiving any), so it's strongly advised that they get in touch with HC.gov ASAP as well.

Oh, I should also note that this only relates to people who enrolled via the federal exchange, not the state-run exchanges which make up around 1/3 of the total enrollees.

The other incredibly disappointing news: CMS quite pointedly stated again that they are not releasing any actual QHP enrollment data at this time. Not only aren't they giving out any info, I still haven't been able to get any sort of answer as to why they're not doing so.

It's not because they can't do so (they obviously had no problem releasing data during the enrollment period itself). It's not because the numbers are poor (I have ample data to be quite confident that the cumulative exchange QHP tally is now upwards of 9.3 million, give or take, and the payment rate should be at least 8 million). It can only be political at this point, which means one of the following:

  • I'm considerably off in my 8 million paid / 9.3 million total figures (which I highly doubt)
  • They think that if they release the 9.3 million figure, it will raise too many questions about the paid figure (although that's no longer an issue, since that number should also be 8 million or more by now)
  • They think that it will raise too many questions about how many are still enrolled after monthly attrition, even though even that number should still be well above 7 million (and should hit around 7.3 million by November)
  • They're waiting until closer to the election itself to issue an  "October Surprise" update around 2 weeks before the election (which should be roughly 9.6 million (total) or 8.5 million (paid), depending on how they approach it).

At this point, I'm guessing that the last one is the most likely scenario...but who knows; perhaps they've inexplicably decided to stick with the "8 Million" number right through the election itself, even though there's nothing to fear from giving out a more recent tally.