Colorado

2019 OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS (most states)

Time: D H M S

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...

It took me a few minutes to figure out why, at this point, Colorado would issue a formal press release with a "final" number when there's still a day and a half to go. However, I realized that it probably simply means that practically everyone who qualified for the 4/15 extension has already done so by now; presumably they're already over 124K and there's only a few hundred partial applications left anyway, so their final tally will come in somewhere between 124K - 125K, thus allowing them to confidently release the news.

On the down side, if this "winding down" effect is true in most other states, it also suggests that instead of one final mini-spike, the 4/15 deadline will actually result in a severe drop-off, making the final total more like 7.7M instead of 7.8M, but that's fine as well.

In any event, CO is up another 3,000 exchange QHPs since last week to over 124K total.

UPDATE 4/14: From a Denver Post article on the same topic:

About 500 small employers participated in the Small Business Marketplace, or SHOP, which saw 220 enroll, covering 1,860 employees and family members.

That's a whopping increase of...90 people. Still, every one counts...

CO had the official exchange QHP tally as 118,628 as of 3/31, so this means they've added another 2,343 to that total over the past week. The Medicaid number hasn't been updated:

Connect for Health Colorado reports that nearly 280,000 state residents gained coverage during the six-month enrollment period, including 120,971 who signed up for private insurance plans as of Monday and 158,521 who enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program as of April 1. In an interview last fall, Patty Fontneau, CEO of the non-profit organization running the exchange, had estimated that 125,000 to 140,000 Coloradans would sign up for insurance through the exchange during its first year.

Up from 1,300...

So far, 198 companies have bought SHOP policies for 1,770 covered lives — both their employees and their employees’ dependents, Sugden said. That's less than a large state like California, but ahead of other states that have not even been able to launch their small-business exchange, he said.

...The SHOP is attracting about 40 new companies per month right now, a number that will continue to rise because companies can continue to buy policies throughout the year, he said.

Oregon has been talking about this for weeks, but now it's official:

Oregonians now have an additional month to apply for private health insurance. New deadline to apply is April 30. The Oregon Insurance Division and Cover Oregon urge people to apply now to get coverage as soon as possible and avoid potential end-of-month rush. 

Colorado said something about this the other day, but now it's official:

DENVER - Colorado will give health insurance applicants extra time to finish the enrollment process, if they start before the March 31 deadline.

Connect for Health Colorado will make an official announcement about the extension Wednesday afternoon.

Add New York to the list as well:

Another find from Stevef101 (and this one, while impressive, is not setting off any warning bells with me either): Colorado breaks 106K QHPs as of this morning, up 6,000 from 100,112 as of a week ago:

As of Monday morning, Connect for Health chief executive Patty Fontneau said, 106,000 Coloradans had signed up for private insurance. About 24 percent of enrollees were in the prized young (and presumably healthier) adult category of ages 18-34.

...More than 151,000 Coloradans had been added to Medicaid rolls by March 17.

This keeps Colorado's QHP rate at around 91% higher than February...which is actually down slightly from the 93% increase it had been earlier in the month.

...and then there were eight...

A spokesman for the insurance exchange, Ben Davis, said Colorado already has enrolled enough people to make the Connect For Health Colorado exchange sustainable.

Some states have extended open enrollment deadlines because of glitches in their exchanges. Davis said Colorado won't extend the deadline but will give credit to those who attempted to enroll by the end of the month.

This is also a perfect opportunity to work in a special Guest Post by contributor Esther Ferington, who gives a nice roundup of just what will happen to the ACA Enrollment situation after March 31st:


What Happens after March 31st?
Guest Post by Esther Ferington

The Private QHP side is just a confirmation of the 100K update from this morning with an exact figure (100,112), but this also provides the updated Medicaid total as well (151,050):

Whoa. Not an official update, but Colorado already had 93K QHPs as of Thursday the 13th; they're now at over 100K as of yesterday (the 17th). that's 1,750/day for the past 4 days, or 1,033/day in March so far. It doesn't specify QHPs vs. Medicaid, but CO was already at 135K Medicaid as of 3/01, so yes, these should all be private QHPs.

For comparison, Colorado was at 536/day in February, so CO in March is nearly double the February rate.

More than 100,000 Coloradans purchased health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado. 14 days left to enroll! http://t.co/jXVrGTnHQ0

— C4HCO (@C4HCO) March 18, 2014

No official update, but an article in yesterday's Coloradoan.com gives the Private QHP number as 93,000 as of Thursday, up 5,234 from 87,766 as of March 8th:

WASHINGTON — At least 100,000 Coloradans are expected to sign up for private health insurance on Connect for Health Colorado by March 31, according to the head of the state’s online health exchange.

With 93,000 people enrolled as of Thursday, “we are really exceeding our expectations,” Patty Fontneau, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, told reporters in a conference call arranged by Families USA, a health care consumer advocate.

Colorado's offiicial metrics press release from last week only runs through March 1st, but contributor deaconblues found an interesting county-by-county breakdown which runs through the 8th. No Medicaid data, but the QHP number is up to 87,766, a 2,885 increase over a week earlier.

 

OK, as noted a little earlier, I underestimated the February HHS Report for Exchange-based Private QHP enrollment by about 4.2%:

  • My Projection: 902,800 (4.202 million total)
  • Actual Enrollments: 942,833 (4.242 million total)

I'm perfectly happy to have underestimated. As for where the extra 40,000 enrollments came from, my initial guess would be that California, in particular, started ramping up their big March blitz a bit earlier and more successfully than I figured, which, again, I'm absolutely fine with. Update: Nope, actually, California's numbers plummetted in the 2nd half of Feb due to that ugly technical outage; see below for details.

I'm busily plugging the new enrollment numbers into the spreadsheet even as I type this, and will be updating with various notes and observations, so keep checking in.

OK, I've entered the QHP data; a couple of things to note:

UPDATE: On the down side, I was off by 4% this time around.

On the up side, I UNDERESTIMATED:

Actual Feb. enrollments: 942,833, for a total of 4,242,325 thru 3/01/14.

Sarah Kliff at Vox just announced that the February HHS report is expected to be released today at around 4:00pm. A few items in anticipation of that:

  • As I've noted several times, I'm projecting the report to total around 902,000 exchange-based private QHP enrollments for the month of February (technically 2/02 - 3/01)
  • If accurate, this would bring the cumulative total of exchange-based private QHP enrollments to 4.202 million (from 10/1/13 - 3/01/14)
  • From the data I have, the average daily enrollment rate in February was almost identical to that of January, which had about 1.146 million QHP enrollments. HOWEVER, the January report included five weeks of data (12/28 - 2/01), while the February report will only include four weeks (2/02 - 3/01). Therefore, even at the same daily average, it'll be about 20% lower no matter what.
  • Don't be surprised if Peter Lee of CoveredCA decides to steal some thunder by announcing that California has enrolled 1,000,000 QHPs all by itself either today or tomorrow. However, that would include the past 10 days, while the HHS number will only run thru 3/01.
  • If you want to get REALLY specific, call it 902,800 and 4,202,292.
  • I've been dead-on target 6 times in a row without hyping up my projections beforehand. This time I am hyping myself up beforehand, so I'll probably be way off...but as long as I've UNDERestimated the tally, I'll be perfectly fine with that...
  • The report will be released in about 5 minutes, but my kid gets home from school in about 10, so it'll be a good 20 minutes before I can really post anything. Feel free to follow Sarah Kliff of Vox in the meantime!

Colorado continues to be one of the more smoothly-running state exchanges, adding 5,102 Private QHPs and 7,341 new Medicaid enrollees in the 2nd half of February. These represent a 6.4% and 5.7% increase respectively. Unfortunately, their daily QHP rate for February, which had looked to be slightly higher than January, was actually down about 8% per day. As always, in CO, the Medicaid number listed only includes actual ACA expansion (woodworkers are included separately in the CMS reports; there are no renewals or churn the number below).

Here's a bonus data tidbit that's also a precursor to a new feature that I'm adding later this week: Out of the total uninsured in the state, Colorado has a potential QHP pool of around 

325,000 residents, and a potential Medicaid pool of around 332,000 people, once you remove undocumented immigrants.

Assuming 60% of QHP enrollees were previously uninsured, this means Colorado has enrolled:

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