COVID-19

Since I've been neglecting other ACA/healthcare posts the past couple of weeks, I figured I should at least provide regular updates on why I've been mostly absent.

I've made major progress in updating and revising my breakout of COVID-19 cases and fatalities at not just the state level but the county level. Again, I've separates the states into two separate spreadsheets:

Not terribly surprising; via the Massachusetts Health Connector:

On May 21, 2020, the Health Connector announced in an Administrative Bulletin an extension to the extended enrollment period in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency through June 23, 2020 to assist uninsured Massachusetts residents seeking health coverage. (The extended enrollment period was previously set to end May 25.)

If you need to apply for coverage, you can start by creating an application 

If you apply coverage under this special enrollment, the deadlines to complete enrollment are as follows:

Coverage Start DateEnrollment Deadline

  • Coverage Start Date: June 1st: Enrollment Deadline: May 23rd
  • Coverage Start Date: July 1st: Enrollment Deadline: June 23rd

Please note that if you are eligible to enroll due to normal special enrollment period rules, you can select the one that applies when you complete your application.

I've been spending a lot of time working on my county-level COVID-19 tracking project the past few weeks. I'm happy to report that I've managed to plug in the county-level case and fatality data for every thirteen states so far, so I figured this would be a good time to post a visual showing how the virus has spread over time across them in cases per capita (actually cases per thousand residents).

This is a much more useful measure than the raw number of cases since the population of each state (and county) varies so widely.

The states I've completed don't follow any particular pattern...aside from Michigan (which I started with because I live here, of course), the others are simply the states which I was able to get ahold of historic case/death toll data for from March 20th until today. Other states will follow as I complete backdating the data into the spreadsheets.

On April 14th, Covered California reported that 58,000 residents had enrolled in ACA exchange coverage during their COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period, of which roughly 20,000 did so via standard SEPs (losing coverage, moving, getting married/divorced, etc), while an additional 38,000 took advantage of the COVID-specific SEP.

On April 28th, they announced that the number was up to 84,000 new ACA exchange enrollees, averaging around 2.5x as many as enrolled via standard Special Enrollment Periods during the same period a year ago.

Today they issued another update:

Covered California Sees More Than 123,000 Consumers Sign Up for Coverage During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I've made major progress in updating and revising my breakout of COVID-19 cases and fatalities at not just the state level but the county level, and should now be able to post updated summaries of the worst-hit counties on a weekly basis.

Due to the sheer volume of data involved, I've had to separate out the states into two separate spreadsheets:

All data below is up to date as of Saturday, May 16th, although due to variances in when different states report the data, some of the data may be from a day earlier. The counties are color-coded depending on whether they voted for Donald Trump (orange) or Hillary Clinton (blue) in 2016.

Every year, I spend months painstakingly tracking every insurance carrier rate filing for the following year to determine just how much average insurance policy premiums on the individual market are projected to increase or decrease.

Carriers jump in and out of the market, their tendency repeatedly revise their requests, and the confusing blizzard of actual filing forms which sometimes make it next to impossible to find the specific data I need. The actual data I need to compile my estimates are actually fairly simple, however. I really only need three pieces of information for each carrier:

Believe it or not, even though Delaware is a fairly solidly blue state in Presidential elections, two of the three counties there (it's pretty small) voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Here's how the state's cases have shifted over time between New Castle County (the largest of the three, which voted for Clinton) and the other two counties which voted for Trump:

This is almost a complete reversal, with New Castle going from 2/3 of all cases at the beginning of April to just 1/3 today:

A few weeks ago, I posted a detailed analysis of how the COVID-19 virus has been spreading throughout Wisconsin. I noted that while the outbreak originally spread quickly in the more urban/blue-leaning areas, that has gradually changed over time, with the virus spreading to the rest of the state--including rural, conservative-leaning areas--at a faster rate while it slowed down in the urban areas.

It's time to check in to see whether that trend has continued...and sure enough, it has. Here's what this trend looks like visually:

A few weeks ago, I posted a detailed analysis of how the COVID-19 virus has been spreading throughout my home state of Michigan. I noted that while the outbreak originally spread quickly in Detroit and the more densely-populated Metropolitan Detroit region (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties), that has gradually changed over time, with the virus spreading to the rest of the state--including rural, conservative-leaning areas--at a faster rate while it slowed down in the urban areas.

It's time to check in to see whether that trend has continued...and sure enough, it has:

On March 20th, the Vermont Health Connect ACA exchange joined other state-based exchanges in launching a formal COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period.

On April 15th, just ahead of the original SEP deadline, they bumped it out by a month:

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, Vermont Health Connect has opened a Special Enrollment Period until May 15, 2020. During this time, any uninsured Vermonter can sign up for a Qualified Health Plan through Vermont Health Connect. Qualified families can also get financial help paying for coverage.. Please call us at 1-855-899-9600 to learn more.

Well, today, with the revised deadline approaching, I took a look and sure enough, they've bumped it out another month:

via Connect for Health Colorado:

More than 14,000 Coloradans gain health coverage during emergency Special Enrollment Period; Marketplace reports higher enrollments and lower costs in 2020

DENVER — A total of 14,263 Coloradans gained health insurance coverage during Connect for Health Colorado’s emergency Special Enrollment Period, which ran from March 20 to April 30. The Marketplace opened the Special Enrollment Period in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), to ensure as many Coloradans as possible have access to health care.

“We’ve seen a tremendous response to the emergency Special Enrollment Period and need for affordable health coverage,” said Chief Executive Officer Kevin Patterson. “As always, we are here to help Coloradans get covered and stay covered as they navigate life changes this year.”

Regular readers have no doubt noticed that I've let the blog sit mostly idle for the past week or so, even though there's been a ton of noteworthy developments. As I noted on Friday, part of this was due to an emergency laptop replacement/transfer. Part of it was due to it being Mother's Day weekend. Part of it was due to some other personal issues.

Most of it, however, has been due to my getting a bit obsessive with my newest project, breaking out COVID-19 cases and fatalities at not just the state level but the county level.

This has been far more difficult than you might imagine. While there are a half a dozen great sites out there already doing up-to-date tracking of COVID-19 data at the state level, such as the COVID Tracking Project, WorldoMeters and so forth, when it comes to the county-level data, it's a very different story. Some state health department websites make this data easily available and in an easy-to-read format; others make it next to impossible.

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:

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

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