END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT (MASSACHUSETTS)

Time: D H M S

New CDC Report Right In Line w/5 Other Insurance Coverage Studies

So, as Dylan Scott at TPM noted yesterday (and as I noted in kind), the Census Bureau is expected to release a Big Report at 10am with insurance coverage data. However, it turns out that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) beat them to the punch by releasing their own report at midnight:

Obamacare cut the share of people in the U.S. without health insurance by two percentage points this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report today.

In the first three months of 2014, 18.4 percent of adults under age 65 lacked health insurance, down from 20.4 percent last year, according to the CDCsurvey. The fall in the uninsured rate was helped by 3.7 million people who bought private health insurance sold under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the CDC said.

On the surface, this sounds kind of "meh"...weren't there a whole slew of surveys/reports earlier this summer showing a much larger drop, by like 5 percentage points? Why yes, yes there were. Here's the thing, though:

While studies by outside researchers have recorded a drop in the U.S. uninsured rate this year, the CDC survey is the first official government report to register such a decline. The 28,000-person survey didn’t count enrollment under the health law in late March and early April, when millions of coverage applications were accepted.

Yup. As noted yesterday, this survey, as extensive and impressive as it is, only runs through March...which means it doesn't include anyone who enrolled after February 15. Why is that? Because the policies of people who enrolled from 2/16 - 3/15 didn't start coverage until April 1st (and of course anyone who enrolled from 3/16 - 4/15 didn't start coverage until May 1st).

This is noted in the quote above--it only includes about 3.7 million people who enrolled via the ACA exchanges...which, as it happens, is almost identical to the 3.77 million I have estimated for the 10/1/13 - 2/15/14 period...which means that it only includes about 46% of the total QHP enrollees.

In addition, while the count of Medicaid enrollees would extend another 2 weeks (through 3/31), there's still a lot of people who enrolled after the end of March, since there's no cut-off on Medicaid/CHIP enrollment. According to the CMS report, the net gain in Medicaid/CHIP enrollees by the end of March was about 4.8 million. As of the end of June, the net gain was 7.2 million...meaning that another 2.4 million Medicaid/CHIP enrollees aren't included in the CBC (and presumably Census Bureau) reports. There were almost certainly another 500K or more yet added in July and August.

In other words, that 2 percentage point drop from 20.4% to 18.4% (aka a 10% drop) was almost certainly more than double that by the end of the 2nd quarter...which would bring it right in line with the 4-5 percent point drop (aka 20-25% drop) reflected in the other 5 studies to date.