Charles Gaba's blog

I posted a pre-emptive "Thank You" post a couple of weeks ago, since I probably won't have time to do so during this frenzied weekend. However, I did want to link to it again.

Everything I said then is true now, only more so. I appreciate everyone who has helped me out with this project, including the regular site visitors.

Also, just for the hell of it, here's a little snapshot of the site traffic since the begining of the year (I don't have stats from last fall, as I didn't convert the site over from a simple spreadsheet to a true website until the end of December):

As you can see, the first mini-spike happened on Feb. 12, when the January numbers came in and I was absurdly dead-on with my exchange QHP projection. The huge spike at the end culminated yesterday with Paul Krugman's kind words, and traffic peaked at around 17,900 unique visitors.

Looks like the 39K on Monday & Tuesday continued at the same pace all week...supporting my "California 20%" rule (20K in CA = 100K nationally):

SACRAMENTO (AP) — California is seeing a late surge in the number of people signing up for healthinsurance coverage  ahead of next week’s deadline – and state officials are encouraging more people to apply.

The state already reported surpassing 1 million enrollees. But Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said Friday that another 80,000 people enrolled in the past four days alone.

20,000 per day in California is 4x the rate they hit in February.

I'm pretty sure California has now broken 1.2 million all by itself (which makes sense if the 20% rule holds...1.2M = 20% of 6M...)

Based on this and the Oregon entry, I'm increasing my projection from 6.54M to 6.58M as of 3/31.

Another quick update from Oregon; at this point I'm pretty sure that the "Net" QHP number (which removes "terminations & cancellations") is the same as Connecticut--purging the tally of non-payments, adding Oregon to the 100% Paid column:

Medical enrollments through Cover Oregon: 178,057

Total private medical insurance enrollments through Cover Oregon 1: 55,177 

Oregon Health Plan enrollments through Cover Oregon: 122,880

Net enrollments: Net private medical: 52,372

This brings Oregon's exchange QHPs up from 50,137 just 3 days earlier, or 2,235...745/day. Compare this with an average of 179/day in February (or 472/day for the first 3 weeks of March).

Medicaid enrollments haven't changed in this report.

As usual for NY, the official press release doesn't include the QHP/Medicaid breakout, but based on past experience someone will point me towards a news story that has it broken out within the hour...anyway, the combined total in the Empire State is now over 782,000:

ALBANY (March 28, 2014) – NY State of Health (NYSOH), the State’s official health plan marketplace, reported that as of 9 a.m. today, 1,130,600 New Yorkers have completed their applications and 782,472 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.

A rough total number (which I suspect we'll see a lot of this weekend...things are moving very quickly now). Assuming a 20/80 split (typical for Kentucky) of the additional 17,600 total, this should mean roughly 3,500 more QHPs and 14,100 more added to Medicaid, to around 69,500 and 280,500 respectively.

We've been seeing a tremendous increase in the number of people applying and approved each day," says Gwenda Bond in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.  "We've been seeing about 3,100 each day and I suspect that's even higher this week."

According to the state, an estimated 350,000 uninsured Kentuckians have enrolled in Medicaid or private coverage.

UPDATE: OK, someone provided the hard numbers, thanks:

Another quick Minnesota update; non-specific numbers (and why they say "Medicare" alongside Medicaid I have no idea):

Currently, about 42,000 Minnesotans are enrolled through qualified health plans, while 110,000 are through Medicare and Medicaid.

I posted an Arkansas update last night, but here's another...and the "private Medicaid option" numbers are either a little higher or a lot higher depending on the number you use; the wording from the AR DHS is confusing:

233,676 – Total number of private option applicants from state and federal levels.

Of those, 149,666 have been determined eligible for the private option so far and will begin receiving coverage.

Of those determined eligible for the private option, 106,324 have completed the enrollment process (as of 3/21/14). An additional 14,969 have been determined to be better served by traditional Medicaid for a total of 121,293 people who have fully completed the enrollment process. 

It sounds like there's 28,373 who are still in the middle of paperwork or something, but the DHS is quite clear that one way or another all 150K will be enrolled in either the "private option" or "standard Medicaid", so I'm going with the higher number until they clarify otherwise. I normally err on the side of caution, but in this case the "will begin receiving coverage" is part of an official DHS press release.

Back when I assumed that I'd be pulling the plug on this website after March 31st, I didn't see the point of keeping track of the states which finally came around and added Medicaid expansion after the end of the Open Enrollment period. Not that I didn't think it was important, mind you; I just assumed that this site would be winding down in early April anyway, so it would be kind of pointless.

However, now that practically every state is extending their enrollment out to April 15 (or beyond, in a couple of cases) for those who started their application before Monday, along with the fact that Medicaid enrollment doesn't have a deadline anyway along with numerous other exceptions, it behooves me to make note of additions to the Expansion party as they come along.

Final report before the official 3/31 QHPs are up to 49,293 from 44,836 (up 4,457), while Medicaid is up to  220,043, which includes 124,154 regular enrollments (up from 107,505) and 96K auto-transfers.

The impact on the projection chart is slight but positive; MD's increase over the February rate has gone from 50% to 66%.

Through March 22, 49,293 Marylanders have chosen to enroll in private health plans through Maryland Health Connection. As of March 25, 220,043 have gained Medicaid coverage in 2014 and remain active in Medicaid....This includes the 95,889 PAC enrollees who were automatically converted on January 1, 2014 to full Medicaid coverage. 

I've got to give a big shout-out to Uri Manor, who has written an excellent follow-up to my Response to Avik Roy regarding the "How many were previously insured?" issue.

It's very late, I'm very tired and I haven't had a chance to review all of his math, so I can't comment specifically on his conclusions, but if nothing else he adds one more crucial factor to the subject: NOT EVERY INSURANCE COMPANY PARTICIPATES IN THE EXCHANGES AT ALL.

Just as a quick example:

( – Major health insurance companies--Blue Cross, Aetna, United, Humana--have decided not to participate in various states in the Obamacare health-insurance exchanges that will be the only place Americans will be able to buy a health insurance plan using the federal subsidies authorized under the Obamacare law.

One more update tonight, out of Arkansas...nothing shocking either way, about a 21% increase over the February daily average; takes the projection down a smidge but nothing significant:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas officials say more than 33,500 people have signed up for the health insurance exchange set up under the federal health law, well below the numbers they hoped to see before the enrollment deadline next week.

State officials on Thursday said the signup for the exchange, a marketplace where consumers can select health plans, has lagged in comparison to enrollments in the state's "private option" compromise Medicaid expansion. More than 106,000 people have signed up for the private option, the state's program using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

A very nice little update from CT. Clean numbers, and this is the first specific reference to policies being subtracted from the total due to non-payment (presumably for policies that started in January, February and possibly March), which is perfectly fine.

I've said all along that I have no problem at all with subtracting any people who truly are deadbeats or cancel their policy for one reason or's just that they shouldn't be subtracted until they actually are past due, that's all.

Connecticut’s health insurance exchange has been enrolling between 3,000 and 4,000 members per day as the sign-up deadline approaches, exchange CEO Kevin Counihan said Thursday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 178,601 state residents had signed up for Medicaid or private insurance through the exchange, Access Health CT.

Of those, 62 percent, or 111,050, will receive Medicaid coverage. The other 67,551 signed up for private insurance. Among private insurance customers, 78 percent are receiving federal financial aid to pay their premiums.

OK, after all of today's excitement it's back to the state-by-state grind...

More than 55,000 Vermonters have picked a health plan through Vermont Health Connect since open enrollment began in October and more than 43,000 are fully enrolled in new coverage. That means roughly 12,000 Vermonters have yet to pay their first premium or are having problems completing the process.

Contributor deaconblues has done the math for me this time, which I appreciate since my brain is fried today:

I know Vermont is a tricky beast, but this article specifically says 55K through the Vermont Health Connector (no bulk transfers or SHOP)

The current numbers on the spreadsheet say:

  • QHP: 28,950 (18,507 paid + 10,443 unpaid)
  • Medicaid: 21,525
  • Total: 50,475

This would imply they've newly added about 4,500. If you prorate the 55K across QHP and Medicaid (58/42), and use the paid QHP as a "hard number", you get

  • QHP: 31,900 (19,900 paid + 12,000 unpaid)
  • Medicaid: 23,100

This looks right to me, so there you go.

Here's the full roundup of the "extended enrollment period" status of all 50 states + DC (I still don't know the status of Hawaii or Rhode Island):


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, 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.