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Maryland: 8,537 QHPs in first 3 days! (wild speculation: up to 830K nationally?)


Through yesterday, 8537 people have already enrolled in private health plan coverage for 2016 at https://t.co/GpASXcJbQN Is it your turn?

— MD Health Connection (@MarylandConnect) November 4, 2015

And https://t.co/GpASXcJbQN now offers dental coverage for 2016 too. 1705 Marylanders enrolled in dental through yesterday. Makes us smile!

— MD Health Connection (@MarylandConnect) November 4, 2015

Just to be certain that the 8,537 figure doesn't include Medicaid or the dental figure mixed in with it, I asked and they confirmed:

@charles_gaba Correct. That's all QHP. Dental's in the other tweet.

— MD Health Connection (@MarylandConnect) November 4, 2015

Maryland is the only state exchange so far which has provided any enrollment data so far. They only made up about 1% of total QHP selections last year, so extrapolating from this one state is awfully premature, but it's all I have to go with so far.

Maryland Connect reported 847 QHP selections on the first day, which was a Sunday. Extrapolating that out nationally would give roughly 80,000 people on Day One (I projected around 60,000).

They're now saying that they've enrolled 8,537 in the first 3 days. That means an additional 7,690 people in just the past 2 days. This also means that MD has hit 7.1% of their 2015 Open Enrollment total (120,145) in just 3.2% of the 2016 Open Enrollment period (3 out of 92 days).

Again, I have to be careful about reading too much into this, but a straight extrapolation would give something like 830,000 people nationally.

It's important to keep in mind that the odds are that most of MD's 8,537 are likely current enrollees renewing their existing policies...but that's still a good sign in and of itself, since Maryland's weighted average rate increases look to be around 20% by my calculations. If they manage to retain a high percentage of current enrollees, that bodes well forother states with rate hikes in that range.

Also worth noting: Maryland is also reporting 1,705 standalone dental plans in the first 3 days, vs. 348 the first day; that's more of an even spread, but since dental plans are apparently new this year, this also makes sense; everyone signing up for a dental plan is brand-new, vs. most QHP enrollees being renewals.

As for that absurd-sounding 830K extrapolation, just how absurd is it? Consider this:

  • Yesterday, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced 250,000 applications submitted to HC.gov (not enrollments) in the first 2 days.
  • If you assume HC.gov covers around 76% of all potential enrollees (38 states this year), that suggests perhaps 325,000 applications nationally.
  • The jump in Maryland on the first day (a Sunday) and the third day is staggering; assuming an even split between Monday and Tuesday, that would be 847 on Sunday, 3,845 on Monday and another 3,845 on Tuesday.
  • A similar ratio for applications to HC.gov would mean something like 50,000 on Sunday, 200K on Monday and another 200K on Tuesday.
  • Again, assuming 76% via HC.gov, that would mean roughly 65K, 260K, 260K nationally...or around 585,000 applications nationally in the first 3 days.

Again, applications do not necessarily indicate plan selections...but at the same time, a single application can mean more than one person in a household.

It is absolutely reasonable that 585,000 applications may have already been submitted, and that up to 830,000 people may have already selected QHPs in the first 3 days. By comparison, my rough projection graph assumes "only" 175,000 nationally for the first 3 days.

Again, the bulk of these would presumably be people actively renewing their current policies (or switching to a different one), but again, that'd be fine as well for now.