I'm debating whether to actually plug this number into the spreadsheet or not. On the one hand, I'm reluctant to do so without hard official numbers being given (this is just a survey, only runs through mid-March and doesn't include kids anyway).

On the other hand, doing so wouldn't change my total projection of around 7.78 million exchange QHPs; it just reduces the "unsorted" number at the bottom. Plus, I'm almost certain that the March HHS report is going to be released sometime tomorrow (Thursday) anyway, so if I'm wrong, it'll be easy enough to correct it at that point.

You may remember Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens as the jackass who actually bragged about blocking his own constituents from gaining access to healthcare last August:

“Let me tell you what we’re doing (about ObamaCare),” Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens bragged to a crowd of fellow Republicans in Floyd County earlier this month: “Everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”

After pausing to let applause roll over him, a grinning Hudgens went on to give an example of that obstructionist behavior, this one involving so-called “navigators” who are being hired to guide customers through the process of buying health insurance on marketplaces, or exchanges, set up under the federal program.

Washington State is doing a fantastic job of tracking pretty much every data point about health insurance in the state (I already had the 146K number):

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The individual health insurance market has grown to more than 324,900 people in Washington state, according to updated enrollment information reported by health insurers to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner this week.

This number includes 178,981 enrolled outside the Exchange and 146,000 enrolled inside the Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, as of March 31. The total is expected to increase as late enrollments through the Exchange are processed and reconciled.

...Before open enrollment began on Oct. 1, 2013, approximately 278,000 people were enrolled in health plans in Washington state’s individual market. Some 238,000 people received discontinuation notices from their insurers and had to find new coverage by Jan. 1, 2014. Estimates were made earlier this year that 113,000 of those who received notices would qualify for subsidies and 30,000 would qualify for the state’s newly expanded Medicaid program, Apple Health.

Avera reported about 8,950 South Dakotans had both enrolled in its plans and paid their first premiums since the enrollment period began in October. Sanford reported 1,443 and DakotaCare 59. The total is 10,450, but the government relaxed the March 31 deadline and some enrollments are still coming in. The insurers also have some applicants who enrolled but didn't complete the purchase by paying their first premiums.

Avera, in earlier phone surveys, found that 54 percent of enrollments effective in January and February were people without coverage. Avera is studying the issue further and is working with Augustana College to explore what consumers care about most in a decision to buy.

Read that carefully--54% of the January and February-start policies were previously uninsured. That means people who enrolled between 10/1/13 - 1/15/14. All indications (and logic) are that those who enrolled later than mid-January are more likely to be newly-insured than the earlier enrollees.

I can't really use this number in the spreadsheet since it's less than the total for the state, but this is extremely telling news (besides, how often am I gonna get to post a Texas-specific entry?):

HOUSTON (AP) — More than 177,000 Houston residents have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace, far exceeding expectations for the city.

According to an email obtained by The Associated Press, as of April 5 177,825 Houston residents enrolled for insurance under President Barack Obama's signature law. The email was written by Marjorie McColl Petty, the regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Dallas.

The expectation had been that 138,000 Houston residents would sign up. Petty told Houston officials the numbers reflect a successful 13-county regional effort.

The quotes around "final" are there because DC also announced that they're bumping out the extension period one more time, to April 30th:

The exchange had 699 people enroll for coverage in the two weeks after open enrollment was originally supposed to close, with 22 percent of those signups coming on Tuesday, the final possible day. That brings the total number of private health coverage enrollments to 10,630, Medicaid signups to 19,217, and small business enrollments to 13,118.

A bunch of people have sent me this link to the latest Gallop poll, which is certainly welcome news but isn't exactly unexpected:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The uninsured rate among adults aged 18 and older in the states that have chosen to expand Medicaid and set up their own exchanges in the health insurance marketplace has declined significantly more this year than in the remaining states that have not done so. The uninsured rate, on average, declined 2.5 percentage points in the 21 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have implemented both of these measures, compared with a 0.8-point drop across the 29 states that have taken only one or neither of these actions.

So, this is awesome news. Aside from the obvious, though, let's look at the other key stats:

Key "final" numbers as of 4/15 (MN is actually allowing another week, through 4/22, for final stragglers):

QHP: 48,157

Medicaid: 140,678

SHOP (from Dashboard) 726 x 1.8 = 1,306

This is actually pretty impressive; NY had been averaging around 4,200/day up until yesterday, when they hit 949,428, so this means they racked up another 11,334 in the final day (around 5,600 QHPs and 5,700 Medicaid):

.@charles_gaba @charlesornstein final NY Enrollment total: 960,762 Medicaid: 525,283 Private: 435,479

— Dan Goldberg (@DanGoldbergCNY) April 16, 2014

OK, this doesn't really change the numbers beyond a couple hundred, but it's encouragingto see that my "15% in Non-Expansion States" rule of thumb for estimating the number of people who fall into the "woodworker" category seems to be pretty accurate, at least in Indiana:

Even without expanding eligibility for Indiana Medicaid, the program had enrolled 40,577 more Hoosiers as of March than it had in the same month last year.

More than 15,000 of that year-over-year increase occurred in March alone this year, as a flood of people here and nationally sought coverage before Obamacare would hit them with a tax for going uninsured.

If you take a look at the Medicaid Spreadsheet, you'll see that I currently have the "woodworker" tally for Indiana at 40,951...only 374 more than the number reported above.

That 40,951 is 15% of the combined total number of new Medicaid enrollments for Indiana from both the HC.gov website as well as through traditional state Medicaid agency offices (273,005).

OK, the various ACA exchanges are just messing with my head now.

First, Nevada announced that they've extended their enrollment out to May 30 for those who started by March 31st.

Then Oregon announced that they've extended full open enrollment out to April 30.

Then I found out that anyone who submitted a paper application by April 7th in any of the 36 states run by HC.gov still have until April 30 to finish.

Colorado, I've discovered, is allowing people who applied for Medicaid but were denied up until May 31st to finish their enrollment process.

And, of course, Massachusetts has over 200K "Limbo Status" people who may (theoretically) get squared away as late as June 30.

Late last night I learned that Hawaii has bumped their extension deadline out to April 30.

I said I'd keep the poll for the "woodworker" terminology open until tonight, but until I decide what to do about it I'll be continuing to use that term for consistency.

This article from Kaiser Health News brings solid numbers for Colorado, but also gives other good info about the Medicaid situation. For instance, they give a simple explanation of where the term comes from...

Hundreds of thousands of those people were already eligible and could have signed up even before the Affordable Care Act made it much more generous.

They came “out of the woodwork” to get enrolled, analysts say, thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and publicity around its new marketplaces.

...then they give the exact number in Colorado...though only through the end of February...

Oh for the love of...(sigh) Look, I'm all for letting as many people as possible enroll in healthcare coverage, but even I admit that I'm getting awfully tired of having to change the final, FINAL deadline dates.

The Hawaii Health Connector has extended the  initial grace period— which would have ended on Tuesday — given to individuals in need of extra time completing the enrollment application process for health insurance by a couple of weeks to April 30.

Let's just hope they resolve their Heartbleed issue.

Every person counts...up to 8,182 through 4/12:

Total for the period of Apr. 6, 2014 through Apr. 12, 2014

Total since October 1, 2013

29,314 Applications completed in the Individual Marketplace
8,182 Enrollments in the Individual Marketplace

Poll: Is the term "Woodworkers" pejorative? (UPDATED)

In recent weeks, several people have requested that I stop using the term "woodworkers" to describe those who were already qualified for Medicaid prior to ACA expansion but who have only enrolled since October 1st, for a variety of reasons.

The reasons for this may include not being aware that they qualified for Medicaid already; not knowing how to go through the (sometimes cumbersome processof applying/enrolling; feeling a stigma or sense of embarrassment about going on Medicaid; or other reasons. The reason these folks (around 2 million of them by my estimate) are referred to as "woodworkers" is because they've basically "come out of the woodwork" to enroll in every state (not just expansion states) over the past 6 months.

I do not mean to be offensive by using this term, but apparently some people feel it's derogatory. A few people have suggested that I switch to the term "Welcome Mat Enrollees"...as in, the HHS and state agencies have "put out the welcome mat" for these folks by streamlining the process and increasing awareness of the Medicaid & CHIP programs, who qualifies and how to apply.

I'm kind of torn here, so for the moment I'm just putting out a poll to see how regular readers of this site feel about it. I'm not promising that I'll change the description that I'm using, but I will at least take your comments and thoughts on the subject seriously.

I'll leave the poll up until Wednesday evening to see if there's a strong lean one way or the other (or possibly some other descriptive term which seems appropriate).

UPDATE: I see that there are several comments on this topic under other blog entries. I wasn't going to allow comments on the poll itself or not since I felt it might be a contentious issue, but so far the comments and emails I've received have been quite civil, so I'm opening it up for comments. I'll keep the poll open until tomorrow evening.

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