The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline.
Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.
Well, first of all, I've gone ahead and increased my official 3/31 projection to 6.5 million exchange QHPs.
This may go up a bit more, but we're really into uncharted territory at this point. This is where I really am not the "Nate Silver of..." anything. I don't run 10,000 simulations across a complex computer model or anything like that, I can only rely on the existing data, and things are ramping up a bit more quickly than I figured a few days ago, so a lot of this is going to be "back of the envelope" guesswork going into the final weekend.
There's another huge factor to consider as well: The post-3/31 QHP enrollments.
These impact things in several ways:
First of all, since at least 43 states (I think...possibly more) are now doing the "as long as you start by 3/31 you have until 4/15 to complete" thing, some people who otherwise would have scrambled this weekend may ease up, start the process this weekend and then come back to finish the first week of April.
IF it's true that around 79,000 people per day have been enrolling nationally all of this week, that means that yes, we could indeed have already surpassed the 6 million mark...THIS week.
My current projection has exchange QHPs breaking the 6M mark sometime late today (Thursday) or early tomorrow (Friday), but it's conceivable that we did already pass it late last night or early this morning.
Sources who do not wish to be identified, contend last week that the ACA enrollment numbers surpassed the six million mark. A source also says ”People are swarming to the healthcare.gov website and enrollments are rising.” On Tuesday March 25, 2014 over 1.2 million people visited the healthcare.gov website. Enrollments have exceeded 60,000 per day since Sunday March 23, 2014.
The White House denied the claim, but her sources insisted that it was true:
As usual with Massachusetts, there's a lot of weird numbers flying around in this article (and therefore, no new hard enrollment numbers to add at the moment), but there's some other important stuff right in the lede:
BOSTON -- Massachusetts residents who have had difficulty signing up through the Health Connector for unsubsidized health insurance coverage will be given an extra two weeks to enroll under an extension plan to be presented Thursday, two days after President Barack Obama announced a similar reprieve for frustrated consumers on the national level.
...Residents who have had trouble completing enrollment to due technical problems with the website will be allowed to shop online for unsubsidized plans through April 15, with payment due April 23 for coverage starting on May 1.
OK, first, there's the standard "you get until 4/15 as long as you started by 3/31" bit which is all the rage (seriously, I think Connecticut is the only state not extending enrollment in one way or another at this point, while Rhode Island nor Hawaii are the only other states not to chime in one way or another...which is insane in the case of Hawaii).
A nice little update out of DC...they even did the net gain math for me! Unfortunately they didn't separate out QHPs from Medicaid (the 17,899 number includes both).
If I assume the a slightly lower 32/68 breakout of the new enrollments (it was 36/64), that should mean an extra 1,410 QHPs and 2,996 Medicaid enrollees.
That gives a total of 7,926 exchange QHPs and 14,379 new Medicaid total.
DC's numbers are so small that I'd normally say that even if my breakout is wrong, it won't impact the projection enough to worry about...but in this case, they were running 40% below the February rate, so this jump to 26% higher actually bumps the projection back up a smidge after all, to a solid 6.4M.
Since March 10 (the last data release), enrollment through DC Health Link increased significantly. To date a total of 22,305 people have enrolled through DC Health Link’s individual marketplace, up from 17,899 on March 10. This is an increase of 4,406 people just in the last few weeks. (Note this data does not include enrollment through the small business marketplace.)
Community health centers offering counseling for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment process say they are experiencing a surge in the number of people seeking help ahead of the March 31st deadline.
At the David Raines Community Health Centers corporate office in Shreveport, appointments are completely booked through next Monday's deadline, according to Community Development Coordinator, Calvin Young.
"Being in healthcare and kind of understanding how people work and think we anticipated a big surge at the end, but the surge has been a little overwhelming," Young says.
This is a great article for several reasons. Not only is it the first Georgia-specific update I've received, but the numbers are quite good (daily average over 2x that of February) and very straightforward (they don't explicitly state that the 178K are QHPs only, but they include the 3/01 total of 139K and I alrleady checked the 3/01 Medicaid tally, which is quite a bit more than 38K, so it's definitely not included here).
As a surprise bonus, it includes the Paid/Unpaid data for Georgia...which is over 81%, within the 80-85 range that most insurers have been reporting of late. Finally, the data comes directly from the state insurance commissioner, so there should be no mistranslations going on.
State insurance officials said Wednesday that 177,668 Georgians have completed applications for coverage in the health exchange as of March 15.
That number, reported by health insurers in the state, reflects a recent surge in enrollees from the latest figures released by the federal government. As of the end of February, federal officials said, Georgia’s exchange enrollment totaled 139,371.
Earlier this evening I ran an update on Illinois which claimed 323K total exchange enrollments. Since IL had 114K QHPs and 132K Medicaid enrollments as of 3/01 (246K total) that seemed like a decent, if unremarkable update...about 17% above the February daily rate.
However, contributor deaconblues tipped me off that other Illinois stories floating around today seemed to indicate that the 323K figure might actually be the 3/01 numbers, plus another 77K or so of unspecified enrollments. I double-checked with GetCovered Illinois, and sure enough, received this response:
@charles_gaba 113,733 in QHPs, the other 200K Medicaid (as of 03/01). Tricky in part because Cook County got advance dispensation to enroll.
OK, so never mind the earlier Illinois update; my apologies for the error. This also means that I can't use Illinois in the projection table at all, which is fine, since it was actually dragging the projection down anyway lol...
The site — the main portal for insurance marketplaces in 36 states — drew 1.2 million visitors Tuesday and 1.1 million visitors Monday, according to the administration.
Over the same period, call centers received more than 500,000 calls. California's state-run health insurance exchange reported a similar surge in interest, with nearly 40,000 people picking a health plan Monday and Tuesday.
Now, this is awesome news, as it suggests a national rate of around 100K/day (CA has averaged around 20% of the national QHP enrollments all along).
However, it also poses a slight dilemma for me, since there's an 8 day gap between the existing March data (03/02 - 03/15) and these 2 days (03/24 - 03/25).
In spite of their endless technical issues, Oregon is actually kicking serious butt in manually processing a mountain of paper applications. In addition, they're including some interesting extra info in their reports lately--including NET enrollments after cleaning out cancellations/etc (does this mean Oregon is now only including paid enrollments, then, like MA and WA??), as well as dental enrollments, which haven't gotten much attention from anyone:
Medical enrollments through Cover Oregon: 175,534
Total private medical insurance enrollments through Cover Oregon1: 52,654
Oregon Health Plan enrollments through Cover Oregon: 122,880
Total private dental insurance enrollments through CoverOregon 1: 10,628
Net enrollments Net private medical2: 50,137
Net private dental 2: 9,877
This number out of Illinois was as much of an eyebrow-raiser as the NC/LA incident a few nights ago. However, it looks like this is a combined total of QHPs and Medicaid, which were at 113,733 and 131,995 respectively as of 3/01. Combined, that's about 246,000, with a 46/54 split.
For now, I'm going to play it safe and assume that this has shifted towards the Medicaid side a bit since then by calling it a 43/57 split, or around 139K QHPs & 184K Medicaid enrollments.
If I'm fairly close on this split, this represents a modest 17% increase over February's rate, which actually drops the projection a bit...but if I'm underestimating the QHP number, then I'm also underestimating the projection impact (sigh)...
To date, 323,000 uninsured Illinois residents have enrolled in health insurance plans, according to Get Covered Illinois, administrator of the state's official marketplace. As the March 31 enrollment deadline approaches, officials with the agency believe they will meet the state's target of having 143,000 more enrolled.