START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Time: D H M S

First Official QHP Enrollment Numbers: 201 in VT, 1,704 in MA

Hat Tip To: 
Arthur N., Felice Freyer

OK, the numbers are small, but it's a start--and the fact that both are being released by states which had horrible technical issues last year is quite telling:

VERMONT: 201 in first 8 hours: 

Vermont Health Connect processed 50 new applications and 201 renewals by Saturday at 1 p.m. The exchange was working well with some isolated minor issues in the morning that were quickly resolved, he said.

MASSACHUSETTS: 1,704 in first day:

#ACA coverage update: 2,660 enrolled in @MassHealth; 3,307 eligible for @HealthConnector coverage with 1,704 plans selected. Total: 5,967

— MA Health Connector (@HealthConnector) November 16, 2014

Remember, as I noted this morning, it's important to distinguish between "applications", "selected plans" and "paid". The "5,967 total" number makes it sound like I should use the 3,307 QHP figure (3,307 + 2,660 on Medicaid), but it also says 1,704 "plans selected".

Either way, this is already a quantum leap ahead of last year. Massachusetts eventually did enroll about 34,000 people, but almost all of those were people paying the full premium price. They only enrolled around 700 who received tax credits, being forced to shove nearly 300,000 others over into "healthcare limbo" for the bulk of this year.

UPDATE: I've already confirmed that no, this does not mean 3,307 are actually enrolled; only 1,704 are:

@charles_gaba 3,307 learned that they were eligible to buy a QHP (with or w/o subsidy) and 1,704 of them then selected a plan.

— Felice J. Freyer (@felicejfreyer) November 16, 2014

UPDATE: I've also confirmed that the 1,704 figure does refer to individuals, not households. It's important to know that sort of distinction right off the bat.

Ms. Freyer's story in the Boston Globe also answers another question I had. Last year, the Massachusetts exchange was set up to require payment at the time of plan selection, thus effectively meaning a 100% payment rate for the officially reported enrollment data. Granted, their technical problems probably meant that this didn't play out quite as planned, but that was the idea.

This year, it appears that while online payment may still be required, it's not necessarily a mandatory part of the enrollment process:

As of 6:30 p.m., 5,967 people had used the Connector website (MAhealthconnector.org) to find out what type of plan they were eligible for.

Of them 2,660 enrolled in MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, according to Haberlin, who is senior adviser to Maydad Cohen, the governor’s special assistant for project delivery.

The remaining 3,307 learned they were eligible to shop for a private health insurance. Of those, 1,704 selected a plan and 60 paid online (which is not required until Dec. 23).

This being the case, I'm keeping MA's eventual "Paid" rate at the same 88% that I have every other state at for the moment.

In fact, I've even plugged in the first numbers into the spreadsheet! Granted, they're a bit difficult to find...