START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Time: D H M S

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 another...it'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.

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.

Here you go...hot off the presses...um, Twitter-feed, anyway...

@charles_gaba MT @igorvolsky: BREAKING: Obama says on a call that 6 million people have enrolled in Obamacare.

— Seth Trueger (@MDaware) March 27, 2014

Things are moving VERY quickly now, and events are quickly overtaking my ability to keep up. I'll post more details as quickly as possible, but all sorts of stuff may get by me.

For example, I just added this update from the WSJ, which claims 100K QHPs per day on Mon/Tue.

UPDATE: Just received confirmation that the 6M milestone was indeed reached sometime yesterday (Wednesday).

 

Note: This entry is purely speculative at this point (I'm ignoring Gandalf's advice here and straying off the path).

OK, earlier today I said:

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.

Then, about an hour ago, I posted this update which embraced the bold-faced part of that last sentence:

I'm gonna go for it and predict an announcement later today that the 6 million exchange QHP milestone has been hit.

OK, I'm probably gonna go down in flames for this, but this "50K Households Started Applications Yesterday" tweet from Covered California keeps coming to mind.

50,000 households started #CoveredCA health insurance applications yesterday - our highest number yet.

— Covered California (@CoveredCA) March 26, 2014

I'm gonna go for it and predict an announcement later today that the 6 million exchange QHP milestone has been hit.

(to clarify: if they announce it today, it probably actually crossed 6M sometime last night or early this morning)

I'm leaving the 3/31 projection as 6.39M for the moment, but will update this (or not) depending on whether I'm correct about a 6M announcement (or not).

Just to get this out of the way since so many have asked...

April D. Ryan, who broke the awesome scoop about HC.gov enrolling 40K in a single day back on 3/15, reported a very eye-opening claim yesterday: That supposedly total exchange QHP enrollments had already broken the 6 million mark last week:

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:

No exact numbers, but the previous update as of 3/15 was 22,533 paid / 10,520 unpaid (33,053 total), so this looks right. NV's March pace is still running around 45% above February's daily average.

As of March 22, more than 35,000 people have signed up for a health insurance plan. Approximately 23,000 of them have already started making payments on their health care coverage.

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.) 

(someone sent me this link, and after the Louisiana/North Carolina debacle a few days back I figured I owed a bit of good Red State news...)

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.

— Erik Wallenius (@ErikWallenius) March 27, 2014

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...

Blammo. Remember how I noted that back in December, California managed to hit 30K exchange QHPs in a single day, and 20K/day for several other days between Christmas and New Year's Eve?

Well, it looks like we've hit the 20K/day mark. From today's L.A. Times:

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).

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