Facing a flood of interest, the Covered California exchange plans to prevent some consumers from finishing their Obamacare enrollment so others can start the sign-up process to meet Monday's deadline.
Californians were waiting in line for hours Monday to get coverage and heavy consumer traffic was slowing down the state's exchange website at coveredca.com. Overall, health plan enrollment through Covered California surpassed more than 1.2 million by early Monday.
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the state plans to log off some online applicants to make room for other consumers to use the website. The state will tell people that they have until April 15 to complete their application.
Fortunately, as I noted earlier, HC.gov seems to be taking up the slack...
We hven't heard a peep from Rhode Island since way back on March 8th, an eternity ago. At the time, their exchange QHP total was 19,690. They've finally released their first update since then:
A total of 26,128 individuals signed up for private plans through the HealthSource RI marketplace through Sunday night since the start of enrollment Oct. 1, up from 19,690 as of March 8, HealthSource RI spokeswoman Dara Chadwick told WPRI.com.
...Those numbers...exclude the far larger number of Rhode Islanders who’ve used HealthSource RI to sign up for Medicaid, the government insurance program for low-income individuals, which totaled 48,602 as of March 8 – far above the state’s goal for the first year.
...Blue Cross did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how many others have signed up for coverage directly through its website, bypassing HealthSource RI.
I'm also rather amused at how stories like this are finally starting to talk about the number of off-exchange enrollments. Gee, I wonder what might have inspired that?
Nevada doesn't want to be left out of the craziness...OK, not exactly a major update but every one of those numbers is a human being (and one step closer to 7M)...about 4,500 more (although most of the new ones aren't paid yet...imagine that! They enrolled 2 days ago and still haven't paid? The horror!)
Update as of 3/29: A busy weekend for enrollment, 40,498 consumers confirmed Qualified Health Plan selections, 24,062 have paid. #GetCovered
"A second software glitch took HealthCare.gov offline on Monday as the site struggled to stay open during this year's final day of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.
The new problem hit around 12 p.m. EDT and was preventing users from creating new accounts, said a person familiar with the matter. The glitch is related to the part of the system that processes peoples' identities, the person said. A user who visits the site now and tries to log in is told "Healthcare.gov has a lot of visitors right now" and is put into a queue."
..."The latest glitch comes as the site had been performing well, if not perfectly, during a time of heavy use. On Sunday, HealthCare.gov processed more than 160,000 enrollments—the highest daily number to date, the person said."
So, why do I still think they're not only going to hit the low end of my final range (6.9 million) but may actually still beat the high end of the range (7 million even)?
Yesterday there was an unofficial NY count of 100K total enrollments (QHPs + Medicaid) in the past week (which I estimated broke down to 12,920 QHPs on Friday & Saturday, or 6,460 per day).
Today they gave the official number (still not broken out, though): 812,033 combined.
ALBANY (March 30, 2014) – NY State of Health (NYSOH), the State’s official health plan marketplace, reported that as of 9 a.m. today, 1,162,795 New Yorkers have completed their applications and 812,033 have enrolled for coverage since the launch of the Marketplace on October 1, 2013. More than 70 percent of those who have enrolled to date were uninsured at the time of application.
Obamacare sign-up closes at midnight and enrollment is surging, but a technical flare-up on HealthCare.gov Monday morning marred the administration’s momentum.
The online portal, which had been handling millions of visitors over the past few days as enrollment pushed past 6 million, was “down for maintenance” starting at around 3:20 a.m. Officials said it returned to functionality at 9 a.m.
Hmmm...well, on the one hand, this was indeed a "multi-hour outage by HC.gov". On the other hand, it doesn't appear to have been anything critical (ie, they're back online now and all appears to be well...it's not like the earth opened up and swallowed the server farm or anything), and it happened in the wee hours of the morning, so hopefully the impact was minimal.
Yeesh. Like I'm not scrambling enough this morning...
At least 5 different people have sent me the link to the following story from yesterday's LA Times. Here's the key passage:
Precise figures on national health coverage will not be available for months. But available data indicate:
• At least 6 million people have signed up for health coverage on the new marketplaces, about one-third of whom were previously uninsured.
• A February survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found 27% of new enrollees were previously uninsured, but newer survey data from the nonprofit Rand Corp. and reports from marketplace officials in several states suggest that share increased in March.
• At least 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have signed up for state Medicaid programs, according to Rand's unpublished survey data, which were shared with The Times. That tracks with estimates from Avalere Health, a consulting firm that is closely following the law's implementation.
I feel a little silly this morning after my overdramatic post last night which bumped my projection up from 6.72 to 6.78M, but I'm now thinking that exchange QHPs may, against all odds, manage to push over the 7 million mark by tonight after all.
Why? What accounts for my casually increasing it by 220K this morning after stressing so much over a 60K bump last night? Several things:
First (and I'm incredibly embarrassed to to admit this), but I made a basic, 2nd-grade arithmatic error last night. I was incredibly tired and had been pushing numbers around in my head and on the spreadsheet all day, along with my wife having the flu (she's feeling better this morning, thanks)...and I made a basic "forgot to carry the 2" type of mistake. Result? My projection table was way off. With the correction, I now have it at 6.86 million.
I was quite confident of my projections through the 5 million and 6 million milestones...however, since Wednesday, I admit that I've been somewhat "winging it".
My estimates for the past 4 days have been about 2/3 based on solid data...but the other 1/3 has been a mish-mash of anecdotal evidence and instinct. I could be dead wrong here, but I'm going ahead and bumping up my projection for 11:59pm on Monday, March 31st one more time, to just shy of 6.78 million exchange-based QHPs.
On the hard data side, it's the latest numbers out of New York and Washington State, both of which appear to have doubled their already-spiked March enrollment rates in the past few days.
On the instinct side, maybe it was those "Apple store opening"-like line photos that I posted this morning (although most of those folks will probably end up actually enrolling during the extension period, if you think about it).
Maybe I'm just getting swept up in the heat of the moment. Maybe I'll look like a complete schmuck on Tuesday, and my flavor-of-the-month will turn sour.
I don't like basing my estimates on "gut feelings" or "hunches". This is the antithesis of everything that statistical analysis and the scientific method should be based on (at least, I think...I'm neither a statistical analyst nor a scientist). However, when you don't have solid evidence, sometimes you have to go with instinct. In this case, it's a mixture of both.
So, very soon we'll know how good my instincts are on this.
The thing is, I have no problem being off here (and I will be to some degree)...as long I've underestimated the actual total.
NOTE: Hopefully everyone noticed the (?) next to "final". One more update tomorrow.
The headline is negative (shocker!), but the data is positive (imagine that!):
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange reported Thursday it had 131,000 private insurance sign-ups through its online portal, wahealthplanfinder.org.
The milestone comes on the eve of a major Obamacare deadline. Individuals not exempted by law due to low incomes must have health insurance by Monday or risk paying tax penalties next year.
The private insurance sign-ups are in addition to the more than 250,000 newly eligible adults who have enrolled in Medicaid since the exchange opened Oct. 1. Thousands more are enrolled in other Medicaid programs for the first time, according to the state Health Care Authority.
If they "reported" the numbers Thursday the 27th, I presume they were through midnight on the 26th at the latest. The previous tally (125,207 QHPs) was through the 23rd, so that's about 5,800 more in 3 days, or 1,933 per day.
This compares with WA's February rate of 654/day (nearly 3x) and their existing March rate of 816/day (over 2.3x).
Several people have noted that my estimated Exchange QHP number as of today (around 6.58M) has actually surpassed the "combined" Medicaid/CHIP number (6.49M). This is obviously a long way from just a couple of months ago, when Medicaid enrollments were outpacing QHPs by a factor of 3 or 4 to one.
However, this brings up two important points about estimated enrollments vs. documented ones.