Massachusetts: 6,370 QHPs in first 3 days?? (plus 8,536 confirmed Medicaid)
2018 MIDTERM ELECTION
Time: D H M S
So close, and yet so far...
I was geeked beyond measure when I was told that the all-new Massachusetts Health Connector would be posting daily enrollment reports. Until now, the only state doing this was Minnesota, and they only started doing so (I think) after the end of the first open enrollment period (or close to it).
Sure enough, they've already posted two "dashboard reports" with metrics showing how many Bay Staters had been determined eligible for Medicaid ("MassHealth") as well as the different types of Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), which are broken out into those paying full price, those receiving tax credits (APTC) and those qualifying for "ConnectorCare" which seems to be some sort of special Massachusetts-specific program which is somewhere between the Arkansas "Private Medicaid Option" and Minnesota's "MinnesotaCare" Basic Healthcare Program...except that the "ConnectorCare" enrollees are still categorized as "QHPs" for enrollment purposes.
The reports give daily tallies of how many accounts are created and how many applications are submitted, along with call volume, website traffic and forth.
All of this is very useful information. The only gripe I have is that the most crucial piece of data that I track--the "selected a plan" number--is not included in these reports!!
Now, I may be getting ahead of myself. The actual press release issued yesterday did include that number--along with How Many Have Paid???®, which of course is "not too many yet" since it's only been a couple of days and payments aren't due until mid-December.
So, if these dashboard reports will also include an accompanying press release with the "selected a plan" number every day, then that's fine. If the weekly summary reports include it, that would be fine as well (I'd prefer daily, but weekly I can live with).
However, it's rather frustrating to have such detailed transparency about all of these metrics...except for the one that this site is primarily concerned with!!
(sigh) Anyway, here's what I do know:
- In the first 2 days of #OE2, the MA Health Connector reported 6,972 people determined eligible for QHPs
- The accompanying press release stated that 3,600 of these actually selected a plan, or around 52%.
- In the first three days, the "determined eligible for QHP" total has gone up to 12,262
So, assuming that the number of those who have actually enrolled is still at 52%, that should mean around 6,370 actual QHP enrollees in Massachusetts so far.
Of course, it would be easier if they just threw that into the dashboard reports...assuming that's doable, that is...
There's some other interesting stuff here as well. First of all, read the small text at the bottom--they openly discuss the botched 2014 exchange (no point in trying to gloss it over, after all), and even give their own estimate of how many people are likely to have to re-enroll from scratch (175K - 225K, which is actually lower than the 250K or so that I've been estimating).
In addition, see that first "MassHealth" (Medicaid) number? That one should be a "hard" number each day because they're set up to automatically kick the enrollments into effect immediately, which is very nice.
Finally, the breakout of the QHP numbers is quite telling. In most states, about 85% of the total QHP enrollees are receiving some amount of tax credits, as they fall below the 400% FPL. In Massachusetts, however, one of the worst problems they were having with the prior system is that it couldn't properly determine people's eligiblity for tax credits...and with that being the case, the enrollees who supposedly qualified for them had to be shunted over to a "temporary" state-run program (Commonwealth Care or something along those lines), where they've been idling for up to 9 months now.
Now, a handful (around 700, I believe) of that group did end up getting enrolled in QHPs, but several hundred thousand were put into limbo. Meanwhile, around 32,000 unsubsidized QHP enrollees did get through the system, since they're paying full price anyway.
As a result, look at the breakout above: Instead of an 85/15 ratio, it's more like 50/50 so far.
Finally, it's also important to note that the enrollments on Monday in all categories were higher than over the weekend.
If this holds true--with weekdays outpacing weekends--the numbers could add up very quickly indeed...
UPDATE: I've already confirmed with the MA exchange that they will indeed be including the actual "plans selected" data weekly, which is perfectly reasonable.