Colorado

While I've been embroiled in the sturm und drang at the national level, Louise Norris of healthinsurance.org has been reporting on some important stuff happening at the state level:

HAWAII:

Hawaii no longer has a SHOP exchange; Lawmakers consider bill to preserve the ACA and expand Medicaid to 250% FPL

As of 2017, Hawaii no longer has a SHOP exchange for small businesses. The State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has an FAQ page about this.

...Hawaii’s waiver aligns the ACA with the state’s existing Prepaid Health Care Act. Under the Prepaid Healthcare Act, employees who work at least 20 hours a week have to be offered employer-sponsored health insurance, and can’t be asked to pay more than 1.5 percent of their wages for employee-only coverage (as opposed to 9.69 percent under the ACA in 2017). 

The official enrollment report won't actually be released until a little later, but Connect for Health Colorado just posted the following: (it's dated 2/03 but just went live on their site today):

CEO Blog: End of Open Enrollment Update

Posted on Friday, February 3, 2017

Today marks the end of our fourth and by far most successful Open Enrollment period. The number of plan selections ran 12% ahead of last year’s pace and the volume of last-minute customers Monday and Tuesday led us to extend sign-ups for three days for those who started the process before Tuesday’s deadline.

I share this information with extreme gratitude to our dedicated staff, our Assistance Network, our Broker partners, our health insurance company partners and the many other supportive stakeholders who helped us move forward with our shared mission no matter the headwinds we encountered along the way.

There's no specific number listed, but last year's official Open Enrollment Period QHP selection total for Colorado was 150,759 people.

Now that Minnesota, California and especially HealthCare.Gov (with Trump's blessing???) have issued overtime/extension periods of one type or another, this isn't particularly surprising to read, but Connect for Health Colorado is joining the Overtime Bandwagon as well:

Connect for Health Colorado® Extends Enrollment Deadline in Response to Surge in Sign-ups
Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

DENVER — Connect for Health Colorado® today announced it is giving consumers who attempt to enroll by the Jan. 31 deadline three more days to complete their enrollment.

Individuals who began the enrollment process by midnight Tuesday will have until 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, to choose a health insurance plan that will be in effect March 1, 2017. Friday will be the last day to purchase coverage this year, except for customers who experience a qualifying life change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing your employer-sponsored insurance, or moving to Colorado.

It feels a little odd to be alternating estimates about how many people could lose their coverage in each state with the number signing up for it at the same time, but that's where we are: Remember, there's still 6 more days for people to enroll for 2017 coverage starting in February, and 16 days after that to sign up for coverage starting in March.

My last enrollment update for Colorado ran through December 18th; at the time the tally was 139,509 Medical QHPs via Connect for Health CO.

Today they issued another update:

Connect for Health Colorado Reports Increase in Healthcare Plan Selections for 2017 Coverage

DENVER —  More than 158,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace through Sunday, January 8, a rate 18 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

Hot off the presses from the Colorado exchange (CO is one of six states which stuck with the original January enrollment deadline):

DENVER — More than 144,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace through Sunday, December 18, a rate 18 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“We have seen a definite increase in the pace of sign-ups during the first half of this Open Enrollment period,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson.  “These Coloradans have protected their health and their finances with healthcare coverage next year. I encourage anyone who does not yet have health insurance for 2017 to go to our site, Connectforhealthco.com, check to see if they qualify for financial assistance, review the available plans, and complete an enrollment. They can have coverage in place February 1 if they act by January 15.”

The following press release just came out from the Colorado exchange:

CEO Blog: Record Setting Day for Connect for Health Colorado®

We did it! We met the very important December 15 deadline with positive energy and in my opinion, we knocked it out of the park! We’ve seen some very impressive numbers with 10,000 plan selections on Wednesday. And on Thursday we processed more than 12,000 plan selections! Thank you for your tireless efforts supporting our customers.

With the volume that we are seeing, we want to reiterate that we are committed to assisting customers with January 1 coverage who began the process by midnight December 15. If customers are delayed, they should call our Customer Service Center for assistance before finalizing their enrollment. Our established process for requesting an alternative start date can be used to facilitate this.

Hmmm...the Colorado exchange hasn't issued an official enrollment update since the end of November, when it stood at 37,142 QHPs.

Today, in an article about the overall national numbers (mainly noting today's Week 5/6 Snapshot report), Kimberly Leonard of U.S. News & World Report cited a number I haven't seen elsewhere; I presume she simply called up the exchange directly. It seems about right to me:

Open enrollment began a week before Election Day, and several states reported that they didn't begin running ads until after that, saying they didn't want to compete with the attention the election was getting and noting that space sold during that time was particularly expensive.

That was the choice for Colorado, where enrollment is 16.3 percent higher than last year, totalling 50,207 people.

In addition, Leonard provides a couple of quick updates/corrections for some other states:

Connect for Health Colorado just posted an official enrollment update:

DENVER — More than 37,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace in November, a rate 23 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“The pace of sign-ups during the first month of this Open Enrollment has been very heartening,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “We know that there is a lot of discussion now about the future direction of healthcare, but what remains constant and true is the importance of protecting the health and financial future of all Coloradans. I encourage everyone who needs health insurance to check to see if they qualify for financial assistance, review the available plans, and complete an enrollment before the last-minute rush.”

In the first month of the annual Open Enrollment period, Coloradans selected 37,948 medical and dental insurance plans. That compares to 30,777 such plan selections in November 2015.

Last week I estimated that the Colorado exchange had around 26.4K QHP selections in the first 22 days of OE4 based on some fuzzy extrapolation.

Today, the Connect for Health Colorado Finance & Operations Committee had a meeting with the following slideshow...showing that they're doing even better than that: 29,045 QHP selections in those same 22 days.

However, there's also another important tidbit here (last slide below): While the average unsubsidized premium rates for Colorado exchange enrollees officially went up 16.9%, the final premium cost to the enrollees is actually dropping by 1.9% (from $214/month to $210/month):

In Colorado, the typical consumer who has already used Affordable Care Act subsidies to buy exchange plan coverage for 2017 is on track to spend less on premiums next year.

When I last checked in on Colorado, they were reporting 2017 enrollments at a rate 30% faster than last year (16,305 in 13 days vs. 12,496 in the first 13 days last year).

Today they didn't issue an official update, but did give enough to piece together an estimate via an email to their enrollees:

Dear Connect for Health Colorado Stakeholders, 

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re busy as ever enrolling customers. In fact, enrollments are outpacing our numbers by more than 25 percent over this time last year, with our biggest day falling the day after the election. And, this is a trend we’re seeing nationally. 

While the recent election has raised a lot of questions about the future of healthcare, what remains constant and true is the importance of protecting the health and financial future of our customers. Broken bones, disease and other chronic conditions aren’t political, but can happen at any time and in some cases, are preventable with access to care and health insurance. Our dedication to helping customers remains as strong as ever. 

I noted last week that contrary to my concern that OE4 might get off to a slow start due to people holding off until after the election, the early enrollment numbers appear to be right on pace with my official projections after all. In fact, the single day's worth of data provided for HealthCare.Gov ("over 100,000"* enrollments on 11/09 specifically) is 17% higher than what I was expecting it to be, although obviously that could vary widely day to day. The numbers from Minnesota are also extremely impressive, running over 6x higher than the same period last year, that's mostly due to their unique enrollment cap situation, so that's not much of an indicator of any other state.

*(Update 11:55am: This Washington Post article gives HC.gov's 11/09 tally as 105K instead of simply "over 100K").

As I've been noting for a few months now, Connect for Health Colorado's monthly enrollment reports are chock full of data and confusing as hell at the same time.

As a result, I've started simply presenting them without much commentary. Here's the October report (remember, this is for currently enrolled 2016 policies, not 2017 Open Enrollment policies:

Things have actually been relatively quiet on the Colorado rate hike news front since June, when I first ran my projected estimates of requested rate changes for the 2017 individual market:

Well, today the Colorado Dept. of Insurance released their approved rate hikes for both the individual and small group markets. Unfortunately, I don't see an actual carrier-by-carrier breakout, but they do provide weighted averages by other criteria such as metal level, on exchange vs. off exchange and so on:

While it would be nice to have the averages weighted by carrier, the on/off breakout is kind of interesting because it also lets me know what the relative numbers are between the two. For the individual market, note that the on exchange weighted average is 20.9% vs. the off-exchange's 19.9%.

As I've been noting for a few months now, Connect for Health Colorado's monthly enrollment reports are chock full of data and confusing as hell at the same time.

As a result, I've started simply presenting them without much commentary. Here's the August report:

As I've been noting for a few months now, Connect for Health Colorado's monthly enrollment reports are chock full of data and confusing as hell at the same time.

As a result, I've started simply presenting them without much commentary. Here's the July report:

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