END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (42 states)

Time: D H M S

UPDATE: California: ~6,000 NEW enrollments on Day One; 25% higher than 2017

As both the largest-population state in the country and the largest state-based exchange under the ACA, Covered California provides an important guideline for me when it comes to attempting to track national enrollment data. They hold over 12% of the total U.S. population and enrolled 12.7% of all ACA exchange enrollments for 2017, coming in second only to Florida's 14.4%.

Today I confirmed that on Day One of the 2018 Open Enrollment Period, CoveredCA signed up 5,979 people...around 25% more than they did on Nov. 1st last year.

What does this mean nationally? Well, it's important to remember that California is very much devoted to making ACA open enrollment as successful as possible, devoting far more outreach/marketing towards it as the federal exchange at HealthCare.Gov is due to the Trump Administration's constant and overt attempts to sabotage and undermine the law, so extrapolating from CA's numbers nationally has to be done with a huge grain of salt. In addition, most states are cutting of 2018 Open Enrollment after only 6 weeks (on Dec. 15th), while California (as well as New York and DC) are keeping things going all the way through January 31st as usual, which will skew things as well.

With all that in mind, I now have Day One numbers for three states: California (5,979), Maryland (1,800) and Washington State (2,108), or 9,887 total. Combined, they made up around 15.9% of all exchange enrollments last year, so a simple extrapolation suggests that around 62,000 people selected QHPs on November 1st nationally.

Maryland is up 70% year over year and California is up 25%. I don't know how many people Washington enrolled on day 1 last year but it sounds like things are off to a surprisingly good start. Again, until I have some additional data (either more states, more days or both) it's way too early to draw even an initial conclusion, but that's where things stand at the moment. My biggest question right now is whether CMS will bother releasing weekly "snapshot" enrollment numbers or not (they've been cagey about when/how often they plan on publishing any enrollment data). If they do, I'd expect the Week One numbers to be posted on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.

UPDATE 11/10/17: D'oh!! I can't believe I forgot to mention this: Covered California tends to only report NEW enrollees early on, not RENEWING enrollees. I'm not talking about auto-renewals, I'm talking about current enrollees who actively log into their account to renew or choose a different plan. I've confirmed that the 5,979 on Day One figure only includes new enrollees.

So how many acutally selected a policy for 2018 when you include active renewals? Well, thanks to CMS's Public Use File, I know that last year CoveredCA actually enrolled over 220,000 people in the first 5 days including both renewals and new additions, and nearly 887,000 in the first 12 days.

In other words, California's actual tally through yesterday (Nov. 9th) is likely somewhere around 560,000 people. Beat that with a stick.