END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (Connecticut & Maryland)

Time: D H M S

Maryland breaks HHS's 2015 QHP Goal with 35 days to go!

On the surface, this is just another (admittedly good) enrollment update from Maryland:

As of Jan. 11, 169,462 Marylanders have enrolled in quality, affordable health coverage for calendar year 2015, since the 90-day open enrollment period began Nov. 15. That includes 91,137 people enrolled in private Qualified Health Plans and 78,325 people enrolled in Medicaid.

Marylanders can enroll by Jan. 18 for coverage effective Feb. 1 and, if eligible, for an Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) to immediately lower their monthly insurance bills. Marylanders who were enrolled for 2014 should re-enroll by Jan. 18 for an Advanced Premium Tax Credit that begins Feb. 1. They will receive any tax credit owed for January 2015 when they file their federal income tax return in 2016.

Symbolically, however, MD has reached an important milestone. The HHS Dept's official projection for 2015 QHP enrollment is 10.4 million total enrollees, of which they expect around 9.1 million to pay (around 88%). That translates into roughly a 30% increase over last year's 8.0 million total (8 x 1.3 = 10.4). If you break this out by the state level, Maryland enrolled 67,757 people during the 2014 open enrollment period; a 30% bump brings their "HHS-approved" goal for 2015 up to 88,000.

My own 2015 target is more bold: 12.5 million by 2/15 is a 56% increase, or around 105K for Maryland specifically. However, at the rate they're still enrolling people (465/day since 12/18), they should easily add at least another 16,000 people by February 15th (107K total)...and that's assuming a straight-line projection without any sort of mid-January or mid-Feburary surge, which will almost certainly happen.

If a decent mid-Feb surge does occur (including Maryland), they could potentially reach up to 124K or more (83% more than last year), but that's getting ahead of myself.

An amazing turnaround for a state which had one of the most headache-plagued websites last year.

To be fair, the District of Columbia is also well over HHS's "+30%" mark, and Massachusetts is close to tripling their 2014 tally. The difference is that MA's bar was set so low to begin with that it would be astonishing if they didn't utterly smash last year's number (in fact, I'll be disappointed if they don't end up with at least 6x as many enrollees by 2/15).