No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn: I may have severely UNDERESTIMATED today's demand.
As I said a little while ago, until yesterday, I honestly wasn't expecting any of the exchanges to deviate from their official enrollment deadlines this year. Each year there've been fewer and fewer extensions, "overtime periods" and so forth allowed, as more and more people get used to how the system works and especially as the exchange websites become more streamlined & less buggy, with beefed-up sever capacity and so forth.
This afternoon, however...
- Exhibit D: HealthCare.Gov's "Waiting Room" message (which pops up whenever they're experiencing extremely high web traffic) has been popping up most of the day.
Add all of these up and it strongly suggests that HealthCare.Gov may actually go ahead and bump out their January coverage deadline by a few days as well. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see an announcement in the next few hours that they're extending it (presumably through Saturday night, like CA/CT/NY have done).
So, how about my projections? Well, for today specifically (12/15), I've been assuming roughly 700,000 QHP selections nationally (540K via HC.gov plus 160K via the dozen state exchanges), bringing the cumulative total up to 7.70 million nationally.
HC.gov's one-day enrollment record was set exactly a year ago today (12/15/15), when they enrolled 600,000 people in a single 24-hour period. I've been assuming that fewer people would enroll today specifically this year, if only because so many current enrollees have been actively renewing earlier than in the past; I figured this would've taken some of the heat off of the final day, so I knocked 10% off of the top.
Instead, it looks like I may have underestimated today's haul. The federal exchange could conceivably hit 700K today, and the national tally could potentially hit 800K or so. Then again, if they announce a deadline extension, some of that might spill over into the weekend.