START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Time: D H M S

Washington State: 161.4K QHPs thru 12/13; actual deadline for Jan. coverage is 12/23

In yesterday's state-by-state roundup, I noted that there are 4 states where I didn't have any enrollment data whatsoever yet (ID, NY, VT & WA), plus only very limited numbers out of DC. Today, the Washington HealthPlanFinder scratched one of those off the list by providing the following update:

Since the start of open enrollment on Nov. 1, more than 160,000 individuals and families have already signed up for Qualified Health Plans (QHP) through Washington Healthplanfinder. The updated total reflects an increase of more than 20,000 QHP selections over the same point in the open enrollment period last year. In addition to 2017 QHP selections, more than 22,000 Washingtonians have signed up for Qualified Dental Plans (QDP) that are now offered through Washington Healthplanfinder.

...The breakdown of Qualified Health Plan and Qualified Dental Plan selections, as well as customer engagement through the first six weeks of open enrollment is as follows:

  • Open Enrollment (Nov. 1 – Dec. 13)   OE4   OE3
  • Total Health Plans Selected for Jan. 1:      161,381     142,446
  • New Customers:     27,189     27,775
  • Renewing Customers:     134,192     114,671

I'm glad that they broke the numbers out this way. As I've noted a few times, the overall drop in new enrollments so far this year (they're down around 16% via HC.gov so far) has been cause for concern, so any data separating out renewals from new enrollees is welcome. As you can see, in the case of Washington State, at least, there's only a slight drop year over year--about 2% so far, which is better news.

It's also important to note that the Washington exchange has caused some confusion over their deadline for January coverage. On their "Shopping Tips" page they give the deadline as today (Dec. 15th):

Resources

  • Whether you’re a returning customer renewing coverage or a new customer shopping for the first time, we have resources available to help you get covered.
  • If you’re a returning customer and haven’t signed in to your account in a while, you may be asked to update your password. Check out tips for creating a new password.
  • Get your shopping done by Dec. 15 for coverage to start Jan. 1, 2017. Open enrollment ends Jan. 31, 2017.
  • If you need help creating an account or filling out the application, navigators and brokers can help for free. Search for help by zip code or language preference.
  • Our Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) has extended hours during open enrollment from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

...but in today's press release they clearly state the deadline as December 23rd:

“Individuals and families who have not yet signed up for health and dental plans should not delay securing coverage that begins on Jan. 1,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “We anticipate traffic to Washington Healthplanfinder and our Customer Support Network to continue increasing as the Dec. 23 deadline approaches. Residents should act now to avoid any gaps in coverage.”

As Louise Norris noted, they state this flat out on their Facebook page:

Washington Healthplanfinder: Hi Shawn. We are encouraging customers to sign up by Dec. 15. However, you have until Dec. 23 to sign up for coverage to start Jan. 1.