2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

UPDATE: New Hampshire: Effectuated QHPs down 11.7% since Open Enrollment...but something's odd...

A couple of weeks ago I noted that New Hampshire may be the only state on the federal exchange which actively tracks their effectuated exchange enrollment on a monthly basis.

At the time, I noted that unlike most states, their effectuated numbers seem to have increased from February to March (January doesn't really apply since Open Enrollment was still ongoing at the time):

  • January 2016 Exchange-Based QHP Enrollment: 49,937 (+33,604 PAP enrollees)
  • February 2016 Exchange-Based QHP Enrollment: 53,109 (+38,735 PAP enrollees)
  • March 2016 Exchange-Based QHP Enrollment: 55,212 (+43,732 PAP enrollees)

Well, thanks to Louise Norris for the heads up: NH's April numbers are out, and there's something odd:

  • April 2016 Exchange-Based QHP Enrollment: 48,704 (+41,831 PAP enrollees)

There's nothing odd about the QHP number dropping, of course; that's to be expected. What makes it odd is that it went up 4% in March, then back down by 11.8%in April. In addition, PAP enrollment is also down (this is NH's "private Medicaid option" which replaced standard expansion this year).

I suppose there could have been a clerical error last month which is simply being corrected this month, but there's more oddness. As Louise noted, Community Health Options (one of the few surviving ACA-created Co-Ops) appears to have had their enrollment slashed by more than 50% since last month.

Even stranger, take a look at the SHOP (small business exchange) numbers:

  • January: 6,989 enrollees
  • February: 7,295 enrollees
  • March: 7,615 enrollees
  • April: 847 enrollees

Eh??? An 89% SHOP enrollment drop in one month? And again, virtually all of that was via Community Health Options, which had over 95% of New Hampshire's total SHOP enrollment last month, but has supposedly dropped to just 499 people.

If these numbers are accurate, it's a deeply disturbing sign for CHO (which, again, is one of the Co-Ops, which have mostly been on the ropes since day one anyway).

On the other hand, it may just be partially-missing data, in which case it might be corrected/updated tomorrow.

In any event, if these numbers are correct, it means a net QHP enrollment drop of 11.7% since the end of open enrollment, which is actually about what I was expecting (although really, that was for the end of March, not April).

Stay tuned...

UPDATE 4/26/16: Oh, for heaven's sake.

Thanks to Louise Norris for digging into the New Hampshire mystery further. It turns out that yes, there were some clerical errors in prior months after all:

The bulk of the QHP enrollment drop is from Community Health Options (a drop of more than 4,000 enrollees) and Anthem (a drop of more than 2,500 enrollees). But according to the New Hampshire Insurance Department, the drop-off for Community Health Options is partially a result of a reporting glitch in previous months: Rather than reporting just on-exchange numbers to the Insurance Department (used for the monthly QHP membership report that the Insurance Department publishes), Community Health Options had been reporting both on and off-exchange numbers combined. So for April – unlike prior months – the enrollment report includes only on-exchange enrollments.

ARRRRGH!! This presumably also explains the bulk of the SHOP discrepancy, since most of that was via Community Health Options as well.

(sigh) OK, so the good news here is that New Hampshire's 11.7% net attrition from Open Enrollment through April does appear to be accurate...and it's actually lower than the 14% net drop over 5 weeks that NH experienced last year (from 2/22/15 - 3/31/15).

The bad news is that someone at Community Health Options screwed up for several months in a row before anyone caught the error, which isn't exactly confidence-building.