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*Confirmed* 2015 QHP enrollments: At least 2,666 on Day One

Sunday morning, the big ACA news of the day was HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announcing that over 100,000 applications had been successfully submitted and processed on Day One of the 2015 Open Enrollment Period.

This is significant news, and I made sure to write a full post about it at around 10am.

However, throughout the day I noticed that an awful lot of people kept confusing 100K applications with 100K enrollments, which is not the same thing. Even the New York Times made this error (quickly corrected thanks to an, um, anonymous tip). As I noted in my post yesterday morning:

I'm as geeked as any ACA supporter, but some context and clarification is important here. Last year there was a lot of confusion about the distinction between someone:

  1. creating an account
  2. submitting an application
  3. selecting/committing to a plan, and
  4. paying their first month's premium.

The 8.02 million figure through April 19th touted by the administration last spring represented 3) Selecting a plan.

Of that, the actual number who followed through and 4) paid their first premium (thus activating--or "effectuating" to use the industry lingo--their policy) ended up being roughly 88%, or around 7.1 million.

Therefore, while more than 100K people 2) submitting applications on the first day is a very good sign, that isn't the same as 100K people being added to the spreadsheet as actually enrolling, whether paid or not.

I even confirmed this with HHS Dept. spokesman Aaron Alrbright:

@sarahkliff @SecBurwell Can anyone clarify whether "processed completed applications" means "enrollments/selected plan" or just new account?

— Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) November 15, 2014

@charles_gaba @sarahkliff not necessarily who chose a plan.

— Aaron Albright (@AaronKAlbright) November 15, 2014

The good news, as I went on to note, is that:

  1. Those 100K+ applications are only for HC.gov; they don't include the state-run exchanges (which should be about 25% of the total)
  2. SOME of those 100K+ people almost certainly did actually select a plan (ie, enroll, whether paid or not).
  3. The vast majority of those 100K people almost certainly will do so in the near future. These folks didn't create an account & plug in/submit all their personal/financial data just for kicks.
  4. Since a single application is generally for the entire household, the odds are that those 100K applications represent 200K - 300K individual people who will be covered by the policies.

In other words, this is still awesome news for the very first day...but let's keep our definitions straight, OK?

So, having said all that, what hard enrollment numbers do we have so far for the opening day? Here's what I have so far:

  • Hawaii: "more than 40"...call it 41 for now.
  • Kentucky: 368
  • Massachusetts: 1,704
  • Minnesota: 201
  • Vermont: 201
  • Washington: 150

That's a total of 2,665 confirmed from those 6 states (plus one from Maryland, which I posted as sort of a joke).

So, what can we extrapolate from this? Not much, but just for he heck of it, I'll take a crack:

All of those were from light news stories checking in during opening day; in most cases they only ran through the first 10-12 hours or so of Saturday, which means the numbers can almost certainly be doubled to at least 5,000.

In 2014 open enrollment, the 6 states above (not counting Maryland) enrolled a total of 372,784 out of 8,019,763 total nationally, or around 4.6% of the total.

IF (and this is a massive IF, of course) the same ratio held true nationally on Saturday (and no, I guarantee you that it didn't), that would mean that 5,000 enrollments in those 6 states would extrapolate out to...108,696 nationally.

Of course, that's using utterly illogical math; the numbers are going to fluctuate madly from day to day, hour to hour and state to state. The point is that yes a lot of people did enroll over the first weekend...just not necessarily "100,000 people" is all.