END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

Time: D H M S

Projections for Weeks 11, 12 & 13

First, read this. Next, read this.

OK, all caught up? The national total was around 11.50 million QHP selections as of January 9th. Since I won't know how big of a difference the "Live Purge!" factor is making until well after the end of March (when the Q1 effectuation report comes out), I still have to work within the confines of how CMS has been reporting enrollments this season.

With that in mind, I've dropped my end-of-OE3 projection down from 14.7 million to somewhere between 13.8 - 14.2 million (call it 14.0 million even for simplicity).

In order to hit 14.0 million total, 2.5 million people will have to enroll in the final 3 weeks, most likely broken out something like:

  • Week 11: 400K nationally (300K via HC.gov)
  • Week 12: 400K nationally (300K via HC.gov)
  • Week 13: 1.7M nationally (1.3M via HC.gov)

Note that this assumes Week 11 and 12 are about the same. This is because Week 11 includes tomorrow's February coverage deadline (which should have a small bump), while Week 12 is obviously closer to the final March coverage deadline. After that it would be all about the big final week, which would have to come close to the mid-December frenzy (Week ) to hit the 14 million mark. Of course, if that were to happen, CMS would probably also tack on another couple of "overtime" days like they did in December, which could bump the final number up further...but really, I just don't see that as likely.

If the Week 11 Snapshot comes in any lower than 250K, I'll likely drop my final projection further, to somewhere between 13.6 - 14.0 million.

To take a grimmer view, Jed Graham has noted that it's not just the QHP selections which fell off a cliff the last 3 weeks (two of which can be pinned on Christmas and New Year's, but the third week has no such excuse); it's the applications which have dropped substantially as well:

  • Week 8: 2015: 332K / 2016: 405K
  • Week 9: 2015: 676K / 2016: 197K
  • Week 10: 2015: 307K / 2016: 253K

That's 1.315 million applications submitted in weeks 8, 9 & 10 last year, vs. just 855K submitted in the same 3 weeks this year, or 35% fewer. The actual enrollments for the corresponding 3 weeks were around 700K last year vs. 432K this year...or 38% fewer.

In the final 3 weeks last year, there were 1.55 million QHP selections via HC.gov. A 38% drop-off this year would mean a total of just 960K, which would likely mean just 1.3 million nationally, with the final HC.gov Snapshots likely coming in at a mere 160K / 160K / 640K. That would bring the grand total up to a mere 12.9 million, well short of my original projections...although almost exactly in line with what the 12.6 million QHP selections which the HHS Dept. originally projected.

Now, going back to the "Live Purge!" factor, here's the fun part: Let's assume that the final number does indeed come in at just 12.9 million. Let's also say that, sure enough, a good 90% of the unpaid/voluntary cancellations have already been accounted for during open enrollment this year, as opposed to the all-at-once 13% net effectuation drop which occured last year between 2/22 and 3/31.

That would mean that the 3/31/16 effecutation number would stand at roughly 12.7 million after knocking off 13%...which, in turn, would mean that the total QHP selections "pre-purge" was actually...14.6 million or so. Boom!!

However, that's still all speculation. Meanwhile, here's what The Graph looks like right now: