Georgia

You may remember Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens as the jackass who actually bragged about blocking his own constituents from gaining access to healthcare last August:

“Let me tell you what we’re doing (about ObamaCare),” Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens bragged to a crowd of fellow Republicans in Floyd County earlier this month: “Everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”

After pausing to let applause roll over him, a grinning Hudgens went on to give an example of that obstructionist behavior, this one involving so-called “navigators” who are being hired to guide customers through the process of buying health insurance on marketplaces, or exchanges, set up under the federal program.

This is a great article for several reasons. Not only is it the first Georgia-specific update I've received, but the numbers are quite good (daily average over 2x that of February) and very straightforward (they don't explicitly state that the 178K are QHPs only, but they include the 3/01 total of 139K and I alrleady checked the 3/01 Medicaid tally, which is quite a bit more than 38K, so it's definitely not included here).

As a surprise bonus, it includes the Paid/Unpaid data for Georgia...which is over 81%, within the 80-85 range that most insurers have been reporting of late. Finally, the data comes directly from the state insurance commissioner, so there should be no mistranslations going on.

State insurance officials said Wednesday that 177,668 Georgians have completed applications for coverage in the health exchange as of March 15.

That number, reported by health insurers in the state, reflects a recent surge in enrollees from the latest figures released by the federal government. As of the end of February, federal officials said, Georgia’s exchange enrollment totaled 139,371.

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!

Larry Levitt of Kaiser makes an interesting observation in a couple of Tweets yesterday:

States with big increases in ACA enrollment since December:

  • Mississippi ↑ 116% 
  • Florida ↑ 88% 
  • Louisiana ↑ 87% 
  • Texas ↑ 75% 
  • Georgia ↑ 73%

This list is all fed marketplace states. Growth generally lower in state exchanges because enrollment was higher to begin with.

Let me point out a few things that are worth noting here:

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