New York: 260K QHPs thru 1/24...purging/BHP switching? (Also: 356K in BHP program)
2018 MIDTERM ELECTION
Time: D H M S
THIS JUST IN...the first official NY State of Health enrollment update (thanks to Dan Goldberg for the tip):
More than 2.7 million New Yorkers currently enrolled in coverage through NY State of Health • New Yorkers must enroll by January 31 for 2016 Coverage
ALBANY, N.Y. (January 25, 2016) – NY State of Health, the State’s official health plan Marketplace, is encouraging uninsured New Yorkers to learn about affordable health coverage options and enroll in a plan by January 31, 2016. To date, more than 2.7 million people are enrolled in health insurance through NY State of Health, including 1.9 million enrolled in Medicaid, and 827,000 enrolled in non-Medicaid coverage. This includes 210,000 children enrolled in Child Health Plus; 260,000 individuals enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan and 356,000 people in the new Essential Plan, a new and more affordable option for lower income New Yorkers.
Hmmmm...not sure what to make of this. 260K QHPs "to date" which presumably means as of 1/24/16...yet according to the official ASPE report, New York had 265,772 QHP selections as of 12/26/15...meaning that the official total has dropped around 5,000 people since 12/26??
The ASPE report is clear that it doesn't include Basic Health Plan (BHP, or Essential Plan) enrollees, so that's not a factor. The NYSoH press release also clearly breaks out BHP enrollees (which are around 20% higher than the 297K they were at as of 12/26, which sounds about right), and makes it clear that NY's unique "Child Health Plus" program isn't a factor here either (they used to roll that number in with QHPs, causing me much grief, but aren't doing that here).
Therefore, the most likely scenario is exactly what's going on at HealthCare.Gov: It sounds like NY State of Health is also "pre-purging" unpaid/cancelled/"dead" enrollments during Open Enrollment instead of waiting until after the fact. Let's say that they added 25,000 QHP selections since 12/26, but 30,000 of the past-due enrollees were purged/removed from the total, that would result in the new number being just 260K. Still, after the mess I went through a couple of weeks ago over the ASPE report's BHP number, I'll take this with a grain of salt.
In any event, those 356,000 BHP enrollees are the primary reason for NY's QHP enrollment figure (whether 260K, 266K or otherwise) being substantially lower than the 409K they reached last year: The new program is a huge success...but has also cannibalized a couple hundred thousand people between 100-200% of the Federal Poverty Line who would otherwise have singed up for a QHP instead.
I had tried to account for this when coming up with my OE3 projection for New York, but I figured it would only cannibalize perhaps 100K (ie, instead of increasing QHP enrollments by around 25% to 510,000, I figured they'd hold steady at around 415K). Instead, the number actually dropped by around 90K from where I would've expected it to be by today.
Anyway, that's it for NY. It's important to note that in addition to both Medicaid and the Child Health Plus program being open for enrollment year-round, so is the Basic Health Plan program:
The open enrollment period for Qualified Health Plans (QHP) ends on January 31. Consumers who do not enroll in a QHP by January 31 will be unable to enroll in a QHP for the remainder of 2016 unless they have a qualifying “life event” such as marriage, losing employer coverage or, under a new law that takes effect this year, they become pregnant. Enrollment in Medicaid, Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan, which is new in 2016 for lower income New Yorkers, is open all year.
UPDATE: Andrew Sprung just pointed out another possibility: A chunk of those who were auto-renewed into QHPs for 2016 might have since switched over to the BHP program. Since BHPs are categorized separately from QHPs, this would result in the QHP number dropping while the BHP number goes up.