END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (41 states)

Time: D H M S

Hawaii: Something very odd going on: "35,000" exchange enrollees (vs. 12,625???)

The ACA exchange enrollment reports out of Hawaii have been continually confusing as hell. One day it's 16,000 (more than twice 2014's total); a month later it's only 13,300; then just hours later, I receive "confirmation" (directly from the exchange director, supposedly) that it's actually 23,000...specifically for 2015 policies.

While this was screaming out as a big red flag, I grudgingly accepted it...only to have the rug yanked out from me when the official ASPE report came out in March, giving the official final number as 12,625...which is right in line with what I was expecting in the first place (around a 50% increase over their total in April 2014, and 17% over their total as of September 2014).

I haven't heard anything out of Hawaii since then...until tonight, when I read this:

By this spring, when enrollment opened once again to accommodate stragglers eager to avoid an income tax fine for failing to have insurance, the Health Connector had already surpassed its fiscal year target of 30,000 sign-ups. Kissell said that total has now grown to 35,000 — a number Connector officials identified last year as the break-even point for sustainability.

30,000?? 35,000?? What the heck is going on here?

There's two possibilities which make sense. The first is that the 30K (35K now?) figure is also including Medicaid/CHIP enrollments completed via the exchange. The problem with this is that according to the ASPE report, Medicaid/CHIP elgibility determinations alone were already at 32,854 as of 2/21/15. Add the QHP selections in and the combined total would be 45,479, so obviously that's not what's going on.

The other possibility is that they're including cumulative QHP selections since October 2013. Hawaii and the DC exchange are the only ones who I've seen do this before, and it's incredibly irritating and utterly useless. Combining the two years is meaningless since it doesn't give a clue as to how many people are currently enrolled this year. If 10,000 people enrolled for 2014, only half of them renewed their policies and a different 10,000 also enroll for the first time this year, that's 15K QHPs, not 20K.

Put another way, that's like judging Chrysler's 2015 auto sales by including every car they've ever sold since the company was founded.

While this would be incredibly disingenous, if you add the 12,625 enrollees for 2015 as of 2/21/15 to the 10,750 they had last fall, that's 23,375 (the 23K noted at the top of this article).

However, even so, that would still mean that they've somehow added another 11,625 since Open Enrollment ended...more than doubling their 2015 tally. That doesn't make any sense either.

Thoughts, anyone?