Colorado: 37.1K QHPs in November (23% ahead of last year)

Connect for Health Colorado just posted an official enrollment update:

DENVER — More than 37,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace in November, a rate 23 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“The pace of sign-ups during the first month of this Open Enrollment has been very heartening,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “We know that there is a lot of discussion now about the future direction of healthcare, but what remains constant and true is the importance of protecting the health and financial future of all Coloradans. I encourage everyone who needs health insurance to check to see if they qualify for financial assistance, review the available plans, and complete an enrollment before the last-minute rush.”

In the first month of the annual Open Enrollment period, Coloradans selected 37,948 medical and dental insurance plans. That compares to 30,777 such plan selections in November 2015.

This looks like excellent news, since it's up 8,900 from Nov. 22nd. However, it's that "...and dental" descriptor which is the red flag. The "DentalGate" brouhaha from late 2014 is still fresh in my head, so I have to be careful not to mix the two together.

On the other hand, the 30,777 figure referred to for last November really did only include medical QHPs (at least, according to the press release at the time), so it's possible that "...and dental" above simply means "QHPs which include dental coverage", as some policies do. This would be as opposed to standalone dental plans, which should not be counted as "medical QHPs".

In addition, assuming CO has kept up the same pace they were at through the 22nd (1,320/day), that would add another 10,500 as of 11/30...for 39,545 total. Which just happens to be more than the 37,948 figure from the press release.

So...either 37,948 is the correct medical QHP number after all, or the rate slowed down quite a bit last week...which also makes sense since that included Thanksgiving.

I've asked the Colorado exchange for clarification.

UPDATE: OK, I've heard back from the CO exchange:

We have 37,142 medical plan selections. There is quite a lot of overlap with dental, as you know. Think of the plan selections in three groups:

  • Group A   Medical and dental
  • Group B   Medical only
  • Group C   Dental only

37,948 Plan selections cited in the release includes all three groups

37,142 includes group A and B (but members who are in both groups are counted only once toward the total 37,948)

...Last year’s figure is comparable (Group A and Group B), though my wording in last year’s release would have been more accurate to mention it also covered dental plan selections.

OK, so the 30,777 figure last year was correct; the corresponding number this year is 37,142 medical QHPs (some of which also include dental coverage, but that's fine).

That means they added 8,097 QHPs in the last 8 days of November (1,012/day), a bit of a slowdown from the previous 3 weeks but still well ahead of last year.