As you can see from the graphic I posted yesterday (and had to revise several times throughout the day), the official enrollment deadline for private policies starting on January 1st, 2015 has now passed for all 37 states operating via HealthCare.Gov, as well as residents of DC, Hawaii and Kentucky. It's certainly possible that any or all of these will announce some sort of "special circumstances" allowance for those who didn't make the midnight cut-off (10pm in Alaska), but I'm assuming those would be done strictly on a case-by-case basis.
OK, so what about the remaining 11 states?
Well, 4 of them (MD, MA, RI & WA) had later deadlines for January coverage all along: Maryland on 12/18 (Thursday) and the other 3 on 12/23 (next Tuesday).
New York and Idaho bumped their deadlines out from yesterday until 12/20 (Saturday), although Idaho had previously claimed that their deadline was 12/23, but are now claiming that it was originally 12/15. I still don't understand what happened there, but so be it: 12/20 it is for ID.
Until now, I've relied on states like Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont, which have given out frequent 2015 enrollment updates, to point out how impressive the enrollment stats have been this time around; Maryland and Vermont are currently running at nearly 5x their 2014 pace, while Massachusetts is adding people at an astonishing 10x their 2014 rate.
However, these are pretty misleading, because all 3 of those states had such Godawful websites last year that it didn't take much to outperform this year.
Instead, consider states whose exchanges were already doing pretty well out of the gate last year, such as Colorado:
On the surface, this looks pretty good, but nothing jaw-dropping. 24,811 in 27 days is 919/day, or about a 50% improvement over 2014's 627/day.
However, break it out between the first 16 days and the next 11 and it's a different story:
Colorado's first official enrollment report is simple, to the point, and includes not only new Medicaid/CHIP data after all (I was concerned that they'd stopped doing so, but apparently not), but also includes a handy 2015 vs. 2014 comparison chart, the SHOP number and even the number of QHP enrollees receiving tax credits/cost sharing!
In fact, the only gripes I have here are the lack of a new vs. renewal breakout (which it looked like they were going to include at first). They also don't include Medicaid/CHIP for 2014, but I already know that number went up 310K so far this year.
OK, technically not all of these are due specifically to ACA Medicaid expansion, but the majority of them should be, based on past reports. Unfortunately, it's my understanding that the Colorado exchange has decided to stop including Medicaid expansion data with their reports; hopefully this isn't the case, but assuming it is, this is the best I can do for now.
According to the CO Dept. of Healthcare Policy, as of October, the combined Medicaid/CHIP enrollment was 1,172,793:
In October 2014, there were 1,120,120 Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid and 52,673 Coloradans enrolled in CHP+.
Back in December 2013 (just prior to the expansion provision), Colorado had 862,549 people in these programs, a difference of 310,244.
I'm estimating that perhaps 40,000 of these are "woodworkers", the other 270K or so strict expansion.
According to KFF.org, roughly 332,000 Coloradans are eligible for the expansion program.
This story from the 27th isn't an official number, but it's consistant with the formal press release from a few days earlier which had CO's tally at 6,144 as of 11/22:
Enrollment in Connect for Health Colorado, a health-insurance exchange, opened Nov. 15, and more than 8,000 people are already enrolled. Only about 200 people had enrolled during the same period last year, according to a release from Connect for Health Colorado.
...Many residents re-enrolled this month, he said, and there are a “significant” number of new enrollees.
Connect for Health Colorado has just released their final ACA exchange report prior to the 2015 open enrollment period starting up (it runs through October 31st). The top of the line numbers aren't surprising: 2,206 more people enrolled in private QHPs last month, while the SHOP (small business policy) enrollment total went up a mere 4 people (from 2,517 to 2,521).
The QHP rate was 71 per day in October, down from 126 per day from May through September and from 627 per day during the 2014 open enrollment period. This is hardly surprising; a lot of people are likely to decide to "stick it out" for the final 1-2 months of the year and wait until Nov. 15th to enroll in a policy that kicks in on January 1st instead of going through the trouble of enrolling in a policy that will have to be renewed or changed a month or so later anyway.
Colorado’s 2.0 “Kentucky-style” system that is supposed to simplify the way people get health insurance won’t be ready until days before the Nov. 15 open enrollment starts.
And as Colorado’s health exchange enters its busy season, a third “chief” has announced she’s leaving Connect for Health Colorado. Chief Executive Patty Fontneau departed in August. Chief Financial Officer Cammie Blais left two weeks ago. And Chief Operating Officer Lindy Hinman announced her resignation and plans to leave next month after open enrollment begins.
As I predicted in early September, Part Two of the "OMG!! GAZILLIONS OF POLICIES CANCELLED!!" freakout has commenced with 3 weeks to go before the election. Case in point: Colorado, where the state Insurance Commissioner sent a letter to "state Senate Republicans" yesterday (I'm going to assume that this was in response to their request, as opposed to the Commissioner voluntarily choosing to only inform the Republicans specifically) stating that a total of 22,000 policies are scheduled for cancellation due to non-compliance with ACA provisions:
Over 22,000 Coloradoans have had their health insurance canceled by Obamacare in the past month — and 200,000 are slated to be shut down in 2015, the state insurance department announced Friday.
The Colorado Division of Insurance wrote to state Senate Republicans Friday, notifying them that five more insurance carriers have ended plans for 18,783 more Coloradoans in just the last month. By far, the most canceled plans will come from Humana Insurance Company and Humana Health Plan.
Colorado's official monthly metrics report is out, and shows that while off-season QHP additions have started to drop off as we approach the 2nd Open Enrollment period, they're still within my estimated range of 20-25% of the on-season rate.
Meanwhile, SHOP enrollments have inched above the 2,500 mark to sit at 2,517 covered lives as of the end of September.
Health exchange managers expect to lose about 30 percent of enrollees due to attrition by year’s end.
That means they’ll carry over about 114,000 existing customers as they head into the 2015 open enrollment season.
Connect for Health Colorado managers expect enrollments to slide back from a total of 146,000 so far.
...Of the 146,000 people who signed up by the end of August, exchange managers said 10 percent dropped out right away, never paying their first month’s premium. Then about 20 percent more leave in subsequent months.
At first glance, my headline above might seem to have a typo; according to the story itself, the actual increase is a whopping...1.18%, nearly a full percent higher! Busted, right?
Health insurance premiums next year will increase only about 1.18 percent on average statewide next year.
That’s according to the Colorado Division of Insurance after it reviewed and approved 1,072 health insurance plans from 20 carriers that will offer health coverage to consumers and small businesses next year.
OK, I'm feeling a bit foolish now. Earlier today I lamented the fact that the number of state exchanges issuing regular updates continues to dwindle. A few moments ago I realized that I hadn't checked in on Colorado in awhile, and sure enough, they've posted an update through the end of July.
No Medicaid numbers are included, but the exchange QHP tally has risen by another 3,750, to break the 140K milestone at 140,355.
The enrollment rate in CO has dropped a bit since earlier this summer, but they're still running pretty strong. With the new updates from CO and MN, my off-season enrollment projection has dropped a bit as well and now ranges between 8,100 - 10,900/day, still centered squarely on the 9,000/day mark.
SHOP enrollments, meanwhile, have gone up a whopping 19, to 2,392.
Yes, I'm quoted extensively in this CNBC piece by Dan Mangan, and yes, I rip on the HHS Dept. quite a bit in it (towards the end) for their continuing failure to issue monthly ACA enrollment reports during the off season. However, in terms of actual new enrollment data, there's a bit earlier in the story which caught my eye:
...at least 10 of those [state-run] exchanges have disclosed, at some point, how many people have paid their first month's premiums.
For example, a spokeswoman for Colorado's exchange, in a statement to CNBC, said: "As of June, we received data from the health insurance carriers that show 89.9 percent of Coloradans who purchased private health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado paid their first-month premium. There is some lag in data, so we anticipate that percentage may actually be higher ... we obtain this data from each of our 17 carriers and anticipate more complete information as we move forward."