Rhode Island: Nearly 26,000 enrollees in Week One! (sort of)
2018 MIDTERM ELECTION
Time: D H M S
OK, that headline is a bit of clickbait, I admit.
In Rhode Island, enrollment this year is five times higher in the first week than it was last year, said Zach Sherman, the director of HealthSource R.I. An early outreach campaign by the state seems to have paid off with more than 500 people enrolling, compared to 109 people in the first week last year.
I've received a hard number direct from the exchange: It's actually 604 new enrollees through 11/07, versus 126 new enrollees in the first 7 days last year.
However, technically speaking, Rhode Island's enrollment tally is actually 25,853 people...because unlike most states which wait until after the December deadline for January coverage to automatically renew current enrollees, Rhode Island takes an "opt out" approach: They automatically renew everyone up front, and then wait for people to actively tell them they don't want to renew coverage (or switch to a different policy). Call it the "Columbia House Record Club" approach.
This always makes tracking Rhode Island numbers a little awkward, because they start out crazy high and then either crawl upwards, stay flat or even drop off slightly as new people signing up are cancelled out by current enrollees dropping out.
Still, an official enrollee is an official enrollee, so I'll go ahead and bump up the national total accordingly...