Their governors might have hated Obamacare, but their attorneys general just love that Obamacare money.

Eleven states that chose not to set up their own health-care marketplaces filed court papers on Monday supporting the legality of federal subsidies that help their residents buy insurance plans through HealthCare.gov.

Those subsidies are being challenged by four lawsuits that claim only enrollees of health-care exchanges set up by an individual state can get that financial assistance, in the form of tax credits.

With enrollment now open for the federally run health insurance marketplace, Nebraska community groups are taking new approaches to reach out to those who lack coverage.

Illinois lawmakers may have one more chance to approve a state-run health insurance marketplace during the fall legislative session that starts today, and they are under pressure from an end-of-the-year deadline and a pending court decision.

Supporters of creating a state-run website say the impending deadline to receive up to $300 million in federal funding plus a U.S. Supreme Court decision on tax credits due in the spring create urgency. Currently, Illinois residents purchase insurance on the national HealthCare.gov website.

I'm pretty sure that in this case, "applications completed" does refer to actual "plans selected", judging from both the number from a day earlier (1,500) and the context of the quote, although I could be wrong (I also think that's supposed to read "through early Tuesday afternoon...")

Andrew Ratner, a spokesman for the exchange, said it seems to be working well so far. Ratner said 5,324 people have applied and 1,915 applications have been completed since early Tuesday afternoon.

A nice, detailed but to-the-point update out of DC (which supersedes my earlier post):

Meanwhile, as of Monday, D.C. Health Link had a little more than 9,000 visits to its website from about 6,300 visitors. The exchange had 708 total applications and 212 plan selections for 249 covered lives. Officials said they were off to a strong start toward their enrollment goals this year, though they've declined to disclose specific numbers.

This also shows the importance of using the correct number:

9,000 visits > 6,300 unique visitors > 708 applications > 249 covered lives (from 212 policies) in 3 days.

As I noted yesterday, the good news is that Massachusetts is posting daily metric reports on the new ACA Health Connector exchange, a level of frequency which surpasses even Minnesota.

The (mildly irritating) news is that with all of that data being served up daily, the main number that concerns me here at ACASignups--the "number who've selected a plan"--will only be included weekly, every Monday.

Still, until then I can at least get a rough idea. The most recent official press release stated that 3,600 QHPs had been enrolled in out of 6,972 people "determined eligible" for them, or 52% of the total. This number will bounce around from day to day, no doubt, but it's a reasonable starting point to use until Monday.

So, assuming 52% of "determined eligibles" are consistently actually enrolling in policies, today's dashboard report suggests that the number for the first 4 days has reached over 8,400 out of 16,293 total:

Nice to have an official number, and like the other state-run exchanges which have overhauled their systems, Minnesota's 2015 kickoff is a massive improvement over last year:

Strong Enrollment 
Since the 2015 open enrollment period began on Saturday, 1,516 consumers have enrolled in Qualified Health Plans through the MNsure marketplace. By contrast, 406 consumers enrolled in Qualified Health Plans during the first two weeks of the 2014 open enrollment period, meaning MNsure has enrolled four times more people in its first four days than it did last year in two weeks. Also, 765 have enrolled in MinnesotaCare and 2,431 have enrolled in Medical Assistance. MNsure is the only place for Minnesotans to find out if they are eligible for financial assistance such as tax credits, and low-cost or no-cost coverage.

  • The 51 states (including the District of Columbia) that provided enrollment data for September 2014 reported nearly 68 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. This enrollment count is point-in-time (on the last day of the month) and includes all enrollees in the Medicaid and CHIP programs who are receiving a comprehensive benefit package.
  • 340,159 additional people were enrolled in September 2014 as compared to August 2014 in the 51 states that reported comparable September and August data.
  • Looking at the additional enrollment since October 2013 when the initial Marketplace open enrollment period began, among the 49 states reporting both September 2014 enrollment data and data from July-September of 2013, over 9.1 million additional individuals are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, approximately a 16 percent increase over the average monthly enrollment for July through September of 2013. (Connecticut and Maine are not included in this count.)

    From a state exchange roundup report; I've already reported on every data point they have except for this one out of DC:

    By the end of the day Saturday the District of Columbia enrolled 66 people at an event downtown. DC Health Link upgraded this year, including features like providing more information about each health plan. More than 15,000 people enrolled in private plans last year and nearly the same number enrolled on the small business exchange. Health care premiums for 2015 will increase by 11 percent.

    Lest we forget, the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion provision is still churning along in over half the country...

    This afternoon I was contacted by Erik Wemple, a writer for the Washington Post, to discuss a story about the elusive enrollment data from the HHS Dept. Yes, Sec. Burwell did give out some general First Day metrics on Sunday morning: 500K people logging on, 100K submitting applications. However, that's not the key number that people (including myself, of course) are most interested in.

    Unfortunately, I was on the other line at the time (with someone from a different media outlet, as it happens), and I had to pick my kid up from school after that, and wasn't able to get back to the Wemple in time. I guess he had a tight deadline to meet, because shortly thereafter, his story ran:

    Those disclosures are fine as far as they go. But Bloomberg health-care reporter Alex Wayne suggests that the data release follow a more systematic format:

    Massachusetts is issuing daily updates on traffic at its #Obamacare exchange. http://HealthCare.Gov can't do this because ... umm ... hrm.

    New York (MainStreet) -- With Obamacare open enrollment under way for next year, Americans continue to oppose the Affordable Care Act even as new data reveals that many of us don't even know what's in it.

    A recent survey, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, asked ten questions about health insurance under the ACA. Nearly 40% of participants got half of the questions wrong, with 8% getting nothing right at all.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio – A new report released Monday by Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN) is sharing the challenges people faced during the first open enrollment period through the Affordable Care Act, and is providing suggestions on how to improve access, especially for people living in communities of color.

    Based on the findings of the report, conducted with the think tank PolicyBridge  and funded by the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, UHCAN is recommending that enrollment navigators and other assisters be more available and accessible in neighborhood and community-based sites. The network is also recommending that follow-up services be provided for people new to insurance, not only to help connect them with a primary care provider, but to make sure they know how to use that insurance.

    I'm not sure whether the 306 "new coverage applications" refer to actual enrollments or not; going by my own post yesterday, I'll assume not until I hear confirmation otherwise:

    The exchange processed 32 new coverage applications by 11:30 a.m., officials reported. By the close of business Monday, that number climbed to 306.

    “We have not had any problems reported today,” said Lawrence Miller, chief of Health Care Reform, on Sunday.

    ...The exchange processed 1,515 renewals as of Monday evening. Those are a mix of people who submitted changes early and those being automatically reenrolled in their current plans.

    For comparison, last year Vermont only had 38,000 QHP enrollees total.

    Update: I've confirmed that, as I suspected, the 306 "new applications" are just that, not necessarily actual enrollments.

    So close, and yet so far...

    I was geeked beyond measure when I was told that the all-new Massachusetts Health Connector would be posting daily enrollment reports. Until now, the only state doing this was Minnesota, and they only started doing so (I think) after the end of the first open enrollment period (or close to it).

    Sure enough, they've already posted two "dashboard reports" with metrics showing how many Bay Staters had been determined eligible for Medicaid ("MassHealth") as well as the different types of Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), which are broken out into those paying full price, those receiving tax credits (APTC) and those qualifying for "ConnectorCare" which seems to be some sort of special Massachusetts-specific program which is somewhere between the Arkansas "Private Medicaid Option" and Minnesota's "MinnesotaCare" Basic Healthcare Program...except that the "ConnectorCare" enrollees are still categorized as "QHPs" for enrollment purposes.

    The reports give daily tallies of how many accounts are created and how many applications are submitted, along with call volume, website traffic and forth.

    We're launching online enrollment a day ahead of schedule. Enroll now at http://t.co/GpASXdzZeZ for quality, affordable 2015 health coverage

    — MD Health Connection (@MarylandConnect) November 18, 2014

    Yes, I know what you're saying: This is either a joke or a typo; how could Maryland be launching open enrollment a day early when 2015 #OE2 actually started 3 days ago?? Shouldn't that read "3 days late"?

    Well, no, actually. As I noted back in September, due to the horrible technical problems which the MD Health Connection had with their original platform last year, they wisely decided to be extremely cautious this time around with their all-new software.

    In short, instead of opening the floodgates all at once on the 15th, MD decided to take a phased approach:

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