This AR update is noteworthy for being the first enrollment update I've received which actually includes a reference to...myself!
Through yesterday, almost 45,000 Arkansans have selected plans on the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, the new marketplace created by Obamacare, according to information released today by the Arkansas Insurance Department (see county by county map above). Open enrollment is now closed, though people who submitted a paper application by April 7 have until the end of the month to enroll and pick a plan. We may also see this number creep up in the next few weeks as the carriers continue to receive data from the feds.
First, apparently the ACA is such a "socialist, anti-capitalist" enemy of the free market that the private, for-profit insurance companies are just fleeing for the hills. Oh wait, actually...
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said all 11 current health plans have indicated they plan to return next year. He also said three new plans have submitted letters of intent indicating they may compete on the exchange in 2015.
Lots of people (especially myself) have been wondering just how many updates to enrollment data or other QHP/Medicaid/Exchange ACA-related news items there would be after the open enrollment "extension period" ended back on April 15th. After all, the dust should be settling with only the occasional bit of news now, right?
Well, since I've been out of commission with the shingles all week, this has actually turned into the perfect opportunity to answer this exact question. Take a look at the backlog I'm going to have to work my way through as soon as I'm up to it (this is from just the past 5 days or so):
Of course, some of these are duplicates and some may not really warrant their own full entry, but you get the picture. Seems like there's gonna be plenty of ACA news to keep this site operational for awhile yet.
Speaking of which, I'll be addressing my official plans for the future of ACASignups.net sometime next week, as soon as I'm up to extended blog entries...
The article claims that these numbers are "through 3/31", but that's obviously an error, since a previous update directly from Kynect made it clear that the QHP number was several thousand lower than that as of early April. Doesn't really matter, however; these are still outstanding results for Kentucky:
At a Capitol news conference Tuesday, the Democratic governor announced that 413,410 Kentuckians enrolled for health-care coverage through the online insurance marketplace called "Kynect" in its first open-enrollment period, from Oct. 1 through March 31.
...He said about 75 percent of the people signing up for health insurance in Kentucky had no previous insurance and that 330,615 people qualified for Medicaid coverage.
Beshear described it as "deeply satisfying" that 10 percent of the state's population "finally has affordable, quality health insurance that gives them assurance that if they get sick or hurt, they'll get the care and they're not in danger of bankruptcy."
...More than one out of every 10 Kentuckians has health insurance through Kynect, Haynes said.
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas officials say nearly 70 percent of those eligible have signed up for health coverage under the state's compromise Medicaid expansion program.
The Department of Human Services said Monday that 155,567 people have applied and been determined eligible for the state's "private option" program, which uses federal Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance for the poor. DHS estimates that 225,000 Arkansans qualify for the program that was approved last year as an alternative to the Medicaid expansion envisioned under the federal health care law.
Hmmm...my own calculations (based on KFF estimates) has Arkansas down as having around 281,000 people "eligible for Medicaid" who aren't currently insured, but that may just mean that the 56K difference are potential "woodworkers". In any event, this is still huge news.
Yes, that's right...ACA Signups is back in action!
Well...sort of. I'm able to post a couple of updates here and there, but don't expect anything major until next week. The swelling in my right eye has dropped significantly, allowing me to read and type for perhaps 20 minutes at a time, and I'm back on (semi) solid food...thick soups and the like.
With that in mind, I'm gonna try and cut down on the backlog of updates sent in this week...and you'd be amazed at how much is still going on even after the extension period elapsed 10 days ago...
I also wanted to thank everyone for the well-wishes and words of support.
And no, the irony of the situation is not lost on me: I'm taking my brand-new ACA-approved healthcare policy through a thorough workout this month, by subjecting myself to 3 different doctor's appointments (well, technically 4 if you include the dentist, but that's not covered by the policy, of course): Once to my GP, and two more to the Ophthalmologist (once last week to make sure the virus didn't infect my eyeball itself, and a follow-up next week to make sure it didn't seep into the eyeball later in the process).
Not that this is particularly surprising after my prior post, but yes, I've been diagnosed with a nasty case of Shingles. That would be bad enough, but making it worse is that it's on my face (usually it's on the torso), meaning that my right eyelid is swollen over, making it very difficult to see, read or type more than a few sentences at a time.
As a result, I probably won't be able to post any more updates at all for a few days, which will likely mean a bunch of them posted all at once this weekend (or whenever the swelling goes down).
Please do keep sending updates in, however; I'll just flag them for later reference.
Shingles is most common in older adults and people who have weak immune systems because of stress, injury, certain medicines, or other reasons. Most people who get shingles will get better and will not get it again.
Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus "sleeps" (is dormant) in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus "wakes up" when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system. Some medicines may trigger the virus to wake up and cause a shingles rash. It is not clear why this happens. But after the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles, not chickenpox.
You can't catch shingles from someone else who has shingles. But there is a small chance that a person with a shingles rash can spread the virus to another person who hasn't had chickenpox and who hasn't gotten the chickenpox vaccine.
Shingles symptoms happen in stages. At first you may have a headache or be sensitive to light. You may also feel like you have the flu but not have a fever.
This naturally raised the question of whether the main Federal exchange website, Healthcare.gov, was also vulnerable. I checked the site the day that the Heartbleed story went public last Wednesday and it did not show up as being vulnerable. In addition, on that same day Mashable reported that HC.gov was NOT one of the major sites impactedby the bug.
However, just to be certain (and because, frankly, it's a good idea to reset your password every six months or so anyway), the HHS Dept. has taken the precaution of doing a batch password reset for every account on the site:
It seems a bit odd to me that Maryland is issuing a formal press release today when their extension period doesn't end until tonight or tomorrow (why leave a couple days of stragglers?), but whatever; the increase in exchange QHPs from 4/09 to 4/14 was only 1,017, so I guess they figure that it won't be more than a few hundred from 4/15 - 4/18 anyway.
In any event, they say they aren't issuing any more updates until mid-May, so for all practical purposes, this closes the books on Maryland for now:
Please note, we will begin reporting on a monthly basis, on the third Friday of each month. Our next report will be May 16, 2014.
As of April 15, 2014, 262,619 individuals have gained Medicaid coverage in 2014 and remain active in Medicaid. This includes the 95,889 PAC enrollees who were automatically converted on January 1, 2014 to full Medicaid coverage.
As of April 14, 2014, 66,203 individuals have enrolled in a qualified health plan.
OK, now that we're past the April 15 cut-off period, I can close the books for 2014 enrollments, right?
Well, no. As I've noted many times before, Medicaid enrollments and SHOP (Small Business) enrollments are year-round; there's no deadline for those.
OK...but what about Exchange QHPs? Surely those are shut down for the year, right?
Well, no. Again, as I've noted before, the appx. 5 million Native Americans in the U.S. don't have a deadline, and of course anyone can still enroll or change plans if they have a Qualifying Life Event such as having a baby, getting married/divorced, losing their job, moving to a different state and so on.
OK...but what about everyone else? April 15th was the deadline, right?
Well, no. Here's a roundup of the state-by-state deadlines (which have been changing every day, but seem to have finally settled down for real):
According to a new policy paper by the UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education, it is likely that up to half of California’s Exchange Enrollees will not be enrolled in their current Quality Health Plan’s (or QHP’s) by the end of the first year of the exchanges existence. This is due to a myriad of life factors allowing consumers to drop these plans for other policies afforded to them by their spouses, employers, or other government insurance providers (Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare etc.)