Charles Gaba's blog

On March 16th, New York's ACA exchange, NY State of Health, announced that they'd be launching a COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period with a deadline of April 15th. As that date approached, in the middle of the worst pandemic to hit New York State 100 years, the deadline was extended out by a month, through May 15th.

Now as that deadline approaches, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered the COVID-19 SEP to be bumped out by another month:

Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Outlines Additional Guidelines for When Regions Can Re-Open

via Nevada Health Link:

10 days remain to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan through Nevada Health Link during the Exceptional Circumstance Special Enrollment Period

WHAT: Nevadans have 10 days remaining to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan through Nevada Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace operated by the state agency, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange), which announced an Exceptional Circumstance Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in March for qualified Nevadans who missed the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). The SEP, originally introduced in response to Governor Sisolak’s March 12th Emergency Declaration, runs through May 15. Consumers who enroll by May 15 will have coverage effective June 1, 2020.

via the Massachusetts Health Connector:

Massachusetts Health Connector continues extended enrollment as nearly 45,000 people enroll in new plans, update current coverage

April 28, 2020 – The Massachusetts Health Connector continues to help people who need health insurance after losing coverage or income due to the coronavirus, with a May 23 deadline ahead for June 1 coverage.

In order to help residents who lose their employer-sponsored coverage during the economic crisis created by the coronavirus, the Health Connector has created an extended enrollment period through May 25, so that anyone who needs health insurance can come to the exchange and get into coverage. Additionally, current Health Connector members are encouraged to update their income information if they lost their jobs or working hours have changed, to ensure they are in the plan that provides appropriate financial help paying for their coverage.

via the Washington Healthplan Finder:

Washington Healthplanfinder Urges Uninsured to Act Fast to Meet Friday, May 8 Deadline

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) today is urging individuals who did not secure health insurance for 2020 to sign up for coverage by 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 8, the deadline of the limited-time special enrollment period (SEP) through Washington Healthplanfinder for coverage beginning May 1, 2020.

“Now is the time to sign up for health coverage if you are currently uninsured,” said Exchange Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan, “There are many resources available to help individuals understand their options and secure health coverage before the special enrollment period ends.”

 As you can tell, I've become a bit obsessed with tracking the COVID-19 outbreak on the county level within each state, along with the corresponding partisan divide.

Today, I'm looking at North Carolina. The good news is that I was able to acquire daily case & death data going back over a month. The bad news is that it stops a month ago...that is, the earliest day I could find county-level data for was April 4th, which means I'm missing about two weeks worth of numbers from the second half of March (most states I've looked at so far start around March 20th).

Still, even with the first two weeks missing, the trendline is pretty clear: Once again, what started out as a "Democratic area problem" has quickly shifted into an Everyone problem. It looks like things have stabilized at roughly a 50/50 divide, with around the same number of cases appearing in counties which voted for Donald Trump in 2016 as HIllary Clinton:

Since tracking and analyzing data is what I'm best known for...and since I'm mostly stuck sitting in front of the computer all day whether I like it or not these days anyway...I've started my own daily COVID-19 spreadsheet.

Again, I'm not the one who compiled the data itself--many other teams with far better resources than I have are doing that--but I'm pulling their work together and adding some additional context, such as per capita info by state/territory.

Nationally:

After a TON of tedious work porting data over into my county-level COVID-19 tracking spreadsheet, I've completed charts breaking out confirmed cases in two additional states: Minnesota and Texas.

Minnesota was an obvious choice, given that it was the closest swing state won by Donald Trump. Texas may seem like an unusual choice given that it's considered to be a solid red state and that it hasn't seen the type of ugly outbreak of COVID-19 (yet) that several other states have, but I happened to discover that unlike states like Florida and Georgia, Texas's Health Dept. dashboard makes it quite easy to download the historic case and fatality data I need to compile these charts, so I decided to go for it. The results in both states are interesting for different reasons.

via MNsure:

MNsure releases Request for Proposal for the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program’s Public Awareness Campaign

  • Submissions accepted until May 26, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn.—On April 15, 2020, Governor Walz signed the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act to provide relief to Minnesotans struggling to afford their insulin. MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange, is responsible for a creating a public awareness campaign to promote the Insulin Safety Net Program. The public awareness campaign will inform Minnesotans in urgent need of insulin how to access the state’s safety net program, and highlight the availability of insulin manufacturers' patient assistance programs.​ 

The request for proposal (RFP) seeks proposals from qualified firms or contractors capable of producing a statewide public awareness campaign to increase awareness of the Insulin Safety Net Program. The anticipated time frame of the campaign is July 2020 through June 2023.

For weeks now, I've been tracking the daily COVID-19 numbers at the county level in several states; particularly Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. While the pandemic hit the more densely-populated areas first (which tend to lean Democratic), the trendlines in Michigan and Wisconsin have been clearly moving towards the more rural, Republican-leaning counties increasing their share of the cases and corresponding deaths as time has passed.

Pennsylvania has been different--after a less dramatic shift from blue to red counties in late March, PA seems to have levelled off, with new cases holding pretty steady between the two.

It's been another week, so I figured I should post and update...and it's more of the same in all three cases. First up, Michigan:

Since tracking and analyzing data is what I'm best known for...and since I'm mostly stuck sitting in front of the computer all day whether I like it or not these days anyway...I've started my own daily COVID-19 spreadsheet.

Again, I'm not the one who compiled the data itself--many other teams with far better resources than I have are doing that--but I'm pulling their work together and adding some additional context, such as per capita info by state/territory.

Nationally:

via Covered California:

Covered California for Small Business Works to Help Struggling Businesses Keep Employees Covered During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Covered California for Small Business will allow small businesses an additional 30-day grace period to make their premium payments for the months of April and May.
  • Employers interested in the program will be able to defer up to 75 percent of their premium payments for April and May in an effort to keep thousands of small business employees insured during the current health care crisis.
  • A survey found that more than three out of every four Covered California for Small Business employers are either operating in a limited capacity or are temporarily closed.

Since tracking and analyzing data is what I'm best known for...and since I'm mostly stuck sitting in front of the computer all day whether I like it or not these days anyway...I've started my own daily COVID-19 spreadsheet.

Again, I'm not the one who compiled the data itself--many other teams with far better resources than I have are doing that--but I'm pulling their work together and adding some additional context, such as per capita info by state/territory.

Nationally:

One of the biggest non-COVID19 related healthcare policy stories in the news this week was the Monday ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court stating that yes, the federal government does, in fact, have to keep its contractual obligation to make $12 billion in payments legally owed to a bunch of health insurance carriers.

As I've explained many times over the years, the idea behind the ACA's Risk Corridor program was that the launch of the major ACA regulations starting in 2014 involved such a radical reworking of requirements for private health insurance policies (especially on the individual market) that it was unreasonable to expect insurance companies to be able to accurately predict how well or poorly they would fare under the new rules. While the "free market" is supposed to be a "sink or swim" environment, it was agreed that this was so dramatic a change that the carriers should be given "training wheels" of sorts to smooth out the bumpy ride for the first three years.

Since tracking and analyzing data is what I'm best known for...and since I'm mostly stuck sitting in front of the computer all day whether I like it or not these days anyway...I've started my own daily COVID-19 spreadsheet.

Again, I'm not the one who compiled the data itself--many other teams with far better resources than I have are doing that--but I'm pulling their work together and adding some additional context, such as per capita info by state/territory.

Nationally:

Since tracking and analyzing data is what I'm best known for...and since I'm mostly stuck sitting in front of the computer all day whether I like it or not these days anyway...I've started my own daily COVID-19 spreadsheet.

Again, I'm not the one who compiled the data itself--many other teams with far better resources than I have are doing that--but I'm pulling their work together and adding some additional context, such as per capita info by state/territory.

Nationally:

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