Don't let the snarky headline fool you; I'm still very much a single-payer guy. However, anyone who still claims that the ACA exchanges are "socialized medicine" doesn't have the slightest clue what they're talking about. In case you needed even more proof that the ACA is very much private-market friendly:
After sitting out the first year, UnitedHealth Group Inc. intends to offer individual policies on the Illinois health insurance exchange next year, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.
The decision by UnitedHealth, the nation's largest and the state's No. 2 insurer, has the potential to shake up the Illinois market, which was dominated in 2014 by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, the state's dominant insurer.
...United's participation also could help lower rates for consumers, a key concern among the law's supporters.
While United would neither confirm nor deny its plans to offer policies in Illinois next year, a spokesman said the Minnesota-based insurer intends to increase its participation over time in exchanges nationwide.
Check out what just showed up in my in box this afternoon:
HHS Blog: Medicaid Enrollment Shows Continued Growth in April
Medicaid Enrollment Shows Continued Growth in April
By Cindy Mann, Deputy Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Director of the Centers for Medicaid and CHIP Services
Medicaid enrollment continues to increase all across the country, especially in those states that have expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act.
As of the end of April, 6 million more individuals were enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as compared to the period before the initial open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act started. That includes 1.1 million additional people enrolled in April as compared to March in the 48 states that reported data for both April and March.
Finally, we have Nevada; while their QHP enrollment was pretty lame, their Medicaid expansion has done quite well. They have an estimated 304,000 people eligible for expansion, of which the state has already enrolled about 27%:
There were 467,000 Medicaid enrollees as of the end of April — 50,000 more than anticipated, said Mike Willden, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Of those 83,000 people are newly eligible childless adults who did not previously qualify.
Willden projected Nevada's Medicaid numbers will reach 600,000 by the end of the year.
An estimated 220,000 New Mexicans are eligible for expanded Medicaid benefits, and 121,000 of them signed up for the newly available coverage. Many of them found their way to Medicaid by visiting the insurance exchanges online, by talking with guides, or at enrollment events designed to encourage use of the exchange.
OK, looks like expansion Medicaid enrollments are starting to slow down here in Michigan; only about 8,000 more people signed up over the past week. Still, that's 55% of the half a million total Michiganders estimated to be eligible for the expanded program:
Healthy Michigan Plan Enrollment Statistics
Beneficiaries with Healthy Michigan Plan Coverage: 276,662
(Includes beneficiaries enrolled in health plans and beneficiaries not required to enroll in a health plan.)
*Statistics as of June 2, 2014
*Updated every Monday at 3 p.m.
Rand Paul has a habit of being just as much of a weasel as his senior counterpart Mitch McConnell on most issues, but occasionally being "refreshingly" honest. Case in point:
FRANKFORT — Saying he favors a full repeal of "Obamacare" but citing a "technical question," U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on Friday gave cover to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a week after McConnell said Kynect and the federal law are not connected.
..."There's a lot of questions that are big questions that are beyond just the exchange and the Kynect and things like that," Paul said.
"It's ... how we're going to fund these things."
...When asked a second time if he would want to dismantle Kynect, Paul said: "I would repeal all of Obamacare."
OK, contributor deaconblues sent me a link yesterday which gave updates as of 5/27...but when I checked the link this morning, it was dated 5/28 and the numbers were all slightly higher!
If I'm reading this correctly, Minnesota seems to have decided to start posting daily updates now, which is ironic given that HHS has stopped issuing updates completely!
Frankly, for my purposes, the only way that this could be any handier would be if they included a hard "paid" count with each update, but they've repeatedly made it clear that they average around 95% so that's not a problem:
latest enrollment numbers
May 28, 2014
Health Coverage Type Total Enrollments
Medical Assistance 129,332
Qualified Health Plan (QHP) 50,881
Regular readers of this site know that the ACA Signups project started over at Daily Kos. This is the first time I can recall using dKos as a primary source for a story link. I'm sorry to say it's not exactly a flattering one as far as Maryland's ill-fated state exchange is concerned:
Maryland's health exchange website, which is best known for falling to pieces on Oct. 1, will be scrapped after $129 million in spending. In April, the Maryland Health Exchange board voted to adopt Connecticut's web application.
At the time officials refused to say they were junking the Noridian-designed system. It was a just revamping ... right.
However, the state can't transfer data from one system to the other.
The fix? Contact 275,000 Medicaid enrollees -- about 75% of the people on the exchange -- and have them log onto a new system and put their information in again.
A rather depressing end to Nevada's first open enrollment period. The state pushed their extension period far beyond any other state (most states stopped at 4/15; Oregon's was 4/30...Nevada kicked it out another month beyond that to 5/30), and still didn't come close to either their initial target or even my own "fair share" target of 73,000 QHP enrollees:
About 35,700 consumers have purchased insurance coverage through the program. Enrollment is far less than an initial target of 118,000.
(and yes, that 35,700 figure is paid, not total; the total number stood at 47,245 a couple of weeks ago).
Not exactly an earth-shattering update, but Hawaii has, interestingly, managed to increase their SHOP enrollments by over 20% in the past week.
Plus, they, along with Oregon and Minnesota, get kudos from me for continuing regular updates regardless of how minor the changes are. Wish NY, CA and HHS would follow their lead on this topic, at least (obviously not so much the technical side of things...)
Total since October 1, 2013
32,114 Applications completed in the Individual Marketplace 9,414 Individuals and families enrolled in the Individual Marketplace
618 Employers applied to SHOP Marketplace 773 Employees and dependents enrolled via SHOP Marketplace
Nice catch by contributor Esther F....in this article about new parents having a 60-day "Qualifying Life Event" period to add their newborn child to their healthcare plan, there's this bit at the end:
About 164,000 Washington residents enrolled for private health coverage during the last open-enrollment period. About 2,000 or 3,000 have enrolled since then, Frey said.
Those include special enrollments along with “special special” enrollments — people still completing applications because of technical problems, Frey said.
OK, kind of a fuzzy number, but let's split the difference and call it 2,500. That means Washington State has increased their enrollment by about 1.5% since the end of March (WA was one of 2 states--Connecticut was the other one--which did not offer an official extension period). As the article was originally posted on 5/27, the latest the figures could run through is 5/26, so that's about 45 people per day since 3/31. Assuming this pace holds steady, WA should add over 10,000 QHP enrollees to their total by the time the 2nd enrollment period starts on 11/15.
Greg Sargent and Glenn Kessler (both at the Washington Post) have sort of tag-team pieces this morning about Mitch McConnell's ongoing verbal gymnastics as he continues to try and say "I will repeal Obamacare completely" and "We should keep Kynect intact" simultaneously, even though "Obamacare" and "Kynect" are both "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."
This story out of Connecticut breaks down their Medicaid enrollees using a handy chart and some very specific numbers, giving fairly hard "Strict Expansion" and "Woodworker" updates:
Unsurprisingly, the biggest percentage growth occurred among adults who don’t have minor children. The income limit for people in that category [HUSKY D] to qualify for coverage rose Jan. 1 as part of the federal health law commonly known as Obamacare, from 56 percent of the poverty level to 138 percent.
...But another portion of the Medicaid program also saw a significant enrollment increase, even though eligibility requirements remained largely unchanged. That portion, known as HUSKY A, covers low-income children and their parents.
...Between the end of September and the end of April, total number of people in HUSKY D rose from 94,058 to 137,260 -- a growth of 43,202 people.
During that time, the number covered by HUSKY A grew by 29,792 people, to 460,103 members.