Massachusetts

Yesterday I posted the MA Health Connector's first weekly dashboard report, in which they confirmed that yes, almost precisely 50% of all QHP determinations are consistently resulting in actual QHP enrollments on that same day. This held true on opening weekend (52%...3,600 out of 6,972) and held firm at 50% even in the first 8 days (14,101 out of 28,175), so I'm now pretty confident that it will stay at least at 50% daily going forward (obviously it should increase as we approach 12/15, which is fine).

Having said that, I can now add two more days to the tally...11/23 & 11/24:

So, that's 14,101 confirmed through 11/22. Add to that 50% of the Monday & Tuesday numbers (4,330 total) and you get an additional 2,165, or 16,266 QHP enrollments total.

OK, it might be slightly lower than 50% even, but certainly above 16K.

This is awesome. Remember how last week I was assuming that roughly 50% of those determined eligible for QHP enrollments likely had already gone ahead and done so each day? At the end of the week I pulled back from this and went with a more cautious 1/3.

Well, it turns out I had it right in the first place: Massachusetts is about to announce 14,101 QHPs actually selected as of Saturday, out of 28,175 determinations (essentially 50% on the nose)!

In addition, they're already up to 23,792 MassHealth (Medicaid) enrollments, which is also excellent.

(link provided soon...it's not even on their website yet!)

For context, Massachusetts is enrolling people in private policies eleven times faster than they did last year...and that includes the December & late March surges.

Put another way, in just 8 days MA has already enrolled about 44% as many people as they did in 200 days last time around.

To recap: In the initial few days of 2015 #OE2, Massachusetts' actual QHP enrollments averaged about 52% of the total "determined eligible" number. The first official weekly report (with "selected plan" QHPs) will be released Monday, so for the moment I'm going with that ratio daily. With that in mind, it looks like MA may have broken the 10,000 milestone in just the first 5 days!

That's 19,957 "determined eligible" for QHPs. Assuming 52% have already selected plans, that's a total of over 10,300 to date.

Again, for comparison sake, last time around MA only 31,695 people were able to enroll. If my 10.3K figure proves accurate, that's 2,060 per day, compared with just 158/day for 2014...or 13x the rate.

Massachusetts is making up for last year's disaster in spades so far.

In addition, check out the confirmed Medicaid (MassHealth) tally: 16,292 people already.

As I noted yesterday, the good news is that Massachusetts is posting daily metric reports on the new ACA Health Connector exchange, a level of frequency which surpasses even Minnesota.

The (mildly irritating) news is that with all of that data being served up daily, the main number that concerns me here at ACASignups--the "number who've selected a plan"--will only be included weekly, every Monday.

Still, until then I can at least get a rough idea. The most recent official press release stated that 3,600 QHPs had been enrolled in out of 6,972 people "determined eligible" for them, or 52% of the total. This number will bounce around from day to day, no doubt, but it's a reasonable starting point to use until Monday.

So, assuming 52% of "determined eligibles" are consistently actually enrolling in policies, today's dashboard report suggests that the number for the first 4 days has reached over 8,400 out of 16,293 total:

So close, and yet so far...

I was geeked beyond measure when I was told that the all-new Massachusetts Health Connector would be posting daily enrollment reports. Until now, the only state doing this was Minnesota, and they only started doing so (I think) after the end of the first open enrollment period (or close to it).

Sure enough, they've already posted two "dashboard reports" with metrics showing how many Bay Staters had been determined eligible for Medicaid ("MassHealth") as well as the different types of Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), which are broken out into those paying full price, those receiving tax credits (APTC) and those qualifying for "ConnectorCare" which seems to be some sort of special Massachusetts-specific program which is somewhere between the Arkansas "Private Medicaid Option" and Minnesota's "MinnesotaCare" Basic Healthcare Program...except that the "ConnectorCare" enrollees are still categorized as "QHPs" for enrollment purposes.

The reports give daily tallies of how many accounts are created and how many applications are submitted, along with call volume, website traffic and forth.

For comparison, last year Massachusetts only managed to enroll a total of 31,695 people...in 6 1/2 months. That's just 158 per day.

Put another way, MA is starting out the 2015 #OE2 season by enrolling people more than 22x faster than last year.

Or, put a third way: Massachusetts has already enrolled 11% of their 2014 total (200 days) in just 2 days.

Looks like Massachusetts fixed its busted #Obamacare exchange: State says it signed up 3,600 people so far this season.

— Alex Wayne (@aawayne) November 17, 2014

(Technically speaking Massachusetts' eventual QHP total ended up being around 34,000, but with attrition/etc. it has likely fallen back down to around 32K by now anyway, so that's still a pretty fair comparison).

From the Press Release:

NEARLY 12,000 INDIVIDUALS & FAMILIES SUCESSFULLY DETERMINED ELIGIBLE FOR ACA HEALTH INSURANCE VIA MAHEALTHCONNECTOR.ORG

I just posted about the first official enrollment numbers coming in from Day One of the 2015 Open Enrollment Period, with small but symbolically important numbers from Vermont and Massachusetts.

I also noted the following passage from today's Boston Globe story about it:

As of 6:30 p.m., 5,967 people had used the Connector website (MAhealthconnector.org) to find out what type of plan they were eligible for.

Of them 2,660 enrolled in MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, according to Haberlin, who is senior adviser to Maydad Cohen, the governor’s special assistant for project delivery.

The remaining 3,307 learned they were eligible to shop for a private health insurance. Of those, 1,704 selected a plan and 60 paid online (which is not required until Dec. 23).

So, you have 1,704 actually enrolling ("selecting a plan"), of which--GASP!!--only 60 have paid!!

OK, the numbers are small, but it's a start--and the fact that both are being released by states which had horrible technical issues last year is quite telling:

VERMONT: 201 in first 8 hours: 

Vermont Health Connect processed 50 new applications and 201 renewals by Saturday at 1 p.m. The exchange was working well with some isolated minor issues in the morning that were quickly resolved, he said.

MASSACHUSETTS: 1,704 in first day:

#ACA coverage update: 2,660 enrolled in @MassHealth; 3,307 eligible for @HealthConnector coverage with 1,704 plans selected. Total: 5,967

— MA Health Connector (@HealthConnector) November 16, 2014

I've ranted several times before about the importance of current Obamacare private policy enrollees making sure to actually visit the exchange website, shop aroundlog into your account and manually re-enroll for 2015, even if nothing has changed at your end (ie, no changes in income, dependents, residence etc).

There are many reasons NOT to auto-renew, most of which are financial in nature. The short version is, you could easily end up paying more than you thought next year by not switching (in addition to premium changes, your tax credit might drop even if your income hasn't changed due to how it's calculated), and you could pay substantially less next year if you do switch to another policy (premiums are actually dropping in many markets).

During the first open enrollment period, the official data releases from the various exchanges ranged all over the place.

HHS, of course, only issued monthly reports, without giving any official data in between (that is, until the numbers started looking good, at which point they issued milestone press releases of "3 million", "5 million" and so on, although even then they didn't give exact numbers or dates).

Some of the state exchanges stuck with monthly numbers as well (Colorado), while others gave out data roughly weekly (Nevada, via Twitter), bi-weekly, or whenever they happened to feel like it (most of the other states). As things ramped up towards March/April, some states started issuing regular weekly updates (including Oregon, which is ironic given all of their technical problems).

A few minutes ago, a guy named Ed Lyons tweeted the following:

The new @HealthConnector exchange launches tomorrow, 8 am. As I have said for a couple of months, I think it will be fine this time. #mapoli

— Ed Lyons (@mysteriousrook) November 14, 2014

This is huge. Why?

Because Ed Lyons is the same guy who wrote The Health Connector Autopsy Report, which documented everything that went wrong with the MA ACA exchange project, from before the beginning until after the end. I mean, everything.

All 31,000 words of it.

It's difficult to get across just how in-depth, comprehensive or well-researched/documented that report is. It's also important to understand that a) to the best of my knowledge, like myself, Mr. Lyons didn't do it for money or for fun; it was something of an obsession for him. It should also be noted that Mr. Lyons is a Republican.

Lots of people have spent today saying stuff like this:

COLORADO: Exchange COO joins exodus, new system late

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.

VIRGINIA: Funds to help Va. health care coverage signups

Virginia is getting $9.3 million in federal funding to help residents sign up for health insurance.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the money will help hire more than 100 people to help with enrollment that runs from Nov. 15 through Feb. 15.

WASHINGTON: Health Exchange leaders are trying to solve the problems from the first sign-up period

CLARKSTON, WA – Leaders with Washington’s Health Care Exchange are preparing for the second open enrollment period, but at the same time they are still working on resolving billing and computer problems for 1,300 accounts from the first sign-up period.

IOWA: Three health insurers get OK to increase rates

This is very confusingly worded, because it makes it sound like all 3 companies have been operating on the HC.gov exchange when it turns out that only 2 of them have. Wellmark did not participate in the ACA exchange; the 19,000 customers referred to here have off-exchange policies which are still ACA-compliant:

Commissioner Nick Gerhart said today that he has approved premium increases from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, CoOportunity Health and Coventry Health.

A nifty summary of technical data points/specs behind the completely overhauled/revamped state ACA exchange website in Massachusetts after the first one failed spectacularly last year includes the following key points:

306,000 — the latest number of Massachusetts residents enrolled in temporary coverage. Will all these people need to get coverage through the state? No one knows, because there’s been no way to process their eligibility this year. But the total number of people trying to use the site during the three months of open enrollment could be around…

450,000 — which is 306,000 + the 100,000 or so people who are still in subsidized Commonwealth Care plans and another 33,000 or so residents who buy insurance through the Connector.

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