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Washington State: 16K additional QHP enrollments since February, 170.1K currently enrolled

This Just In...

Washington Healthplanfinder Enrolls 170,000 in Qualified Health Plans; 16,000 Enroll through Spring Special Enrollment Period
Enrollment Continues for Residents with Qualifying Life Events

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Healthplanfinder today announced that 170,101 Washingtonians have currently signed up for a Qualified Health Plan or renewed their health coverage through www.wahealthplanfinder.org. Of the total number of Qualified Health Plan enrollees, more than 16,000 enrolled during the spring special enrollment period.

The spring special enrollment period, which ran from Feb. 17 to April 17, was previously available to Washingtonians who recently became aware of the tax penalty for not having health insurance or were unable to complete their applications due to technical issues by the Feb. 15 deadline.

“We’re pleased that more than 16,000 Washingtonians took advantage of this unique opportunity to get enrolled, including 3,000 customers who were previously enrolled in 2014 coverage,” said Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

Onizuka noted that since opening its virtual doors 18 months ago, nearly two million Washingtonians – almost 30 percent of the state’s population – has used Washington Healthplanfinder to enroll in coverage that meets their needs and budget.

“We fully expect to see increased numbers in both the individual and Washington Healthplanfinder Business marketplace as we continue to improve the system in order to best meet people’s needs,” added Onizuka.

The special enrollment period is still available for Washingtonians who have a qualifying life event such as getting married, having or adopting a baby or involuntarily losing health coverage.

Customers can learn more about special enrollment opportunities and how to get enrolled by visiting www.wahbexchange.org/sep.

“There’s still an opportunity to access 2015 coverage if you experience one of these life events or qualify for Washington Apple Health,” said Onizuka. “Otherwise, the next opportunity to sign up is Nov. 1, 2015 for coverage starting on Jan. 1 of next year.”

In addition, 534,000 new adults have accessed coverage through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). Enrollment in Washington Apple Health continues year-round.

OK, I have to be very careful here because the wording and numbers need to be parsed out a bit:

  • WA's official tally as of 2/21/15 was 160,732
  • Their official tally as of 3/25/15 was 165,436
  • Their official tally as of 4/17/15 was 170,101
  • Unlike most states, Washington only reports PAID enrollments, not total selections, so there's that.
  • Attrition is taken into account here: 170,101 is only a net increase of 9,369 over the 2/21 total (granted, there's also a 4-day overlap between the 2/17 date in the press release and the 2/21 date in the ASPE report, but still)
  • That means that they added around 16,000 enrollees but lost about 6,600 who presumably dropped their policies due to life changes, etc.
  • Finally, the wording of the press release is a bit confusing as to whether the 16K figure only include #ACATaxTime enrollees or if it also includes those who enrolled via Qualifying Life Changes (getting married, giving birth, etc). Based on the number, however, I'm fairly certain that it includes both, since 16K / 59 days = 271 per day, which would be nearly 60% the daily rate of California's #ACATaxTime rate (462/day) even though CA enrolled 9x as many people during open enrollment.
  • Assuming the ratio of tax-related to non-tax related QHPs was similar to California's, however, that means that roughly 30% of that 16,000 should be tax SEP-specific, or around 4,800

So, to summarize:

  • Washington State has increased their CURRENTLY EFFECTUATED QHP enrollments up to 170,101 as of 4/17 out of 176,732 PAID QHP enrollments
  • Assuming an 88% payment rate, their total QHP selections should now total around 201,000, although that's not really relevant at this point to anyone besides myself
  • About 4,800 of the paid QHPs should be #ACATaxTime specific, with an additional 11,200 "standard" off-season QHP enrollments
  • That brings the confirmed total number of #ACATaxTime-specific enrollments to 68K (HC.gov) + 22,659 (CA) + appx. 4,800 (WA) = 95,459, plus whatever additional enrollments have/will come in from the other 8 states & DC by 4/30. I'm still ballparking around 135K total for the tax-specific total.

There's also two other highlighted numbers which are of some interest: 3,000 of the 16K are "late renewals" from 2014...basically, people who either decided not to renew their policies but changed their minds later, or people who ran into technical issues when trying to renew their policy. The other number, 534K newly added to Medicaid, is impressive but almost identical to the number I already have for WA, so doesn't really move the needle any.