START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Time: D H M S

Michigan

So, I just received a press release from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), which includes a bunch of data covering the full open enrollment period.

The key part for me is this:

DETROIT, April 2, 2014 – At the close of the six-month ACA Marketplace open enrollment period, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its HMO subsidiary, Blue Care Network, were selected by more than 300,000 Michigan consumers.

...BCBSM will report final, confirmed numbers later this month once all enrollments are processed and tabulated by the federal government.  The results announced today are initial figures based on reporting by the federal government and BCBSM’s records:

  • 180,000 members enrolled with BCBSM and BCN “on-Marketplace,” meaning through Healthcare.gov.
  • 53,000 members enrolled “off-Marketplace,” meaning directly through the companies.

However, this is a bit confusing, because there aren't any other enrollment numbers listed. 180K + 53K = 233K. If the total is over 300K, where are the other 67K?

In addition, this doesn't make any sense either:

And now we enter the Bonus Round!

That's right, Medicaid Expansion finally came to Michigan starting today, April 1st, 2014:

Enrollment began Tuesday for Healthy Michigan, which extends Medicaid eligibility to adults making up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $16,000 for an individual and $33,000 for a family of four.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, 11,848 applications had been received, and 4,152 had been automatically approved, according to the Department of Community Health. The state expects 320,000 residents to sign up in the first 12 months. The number could grow as high as 470,000 over time.

I actually have Michigan down as having up to 500,000 people qualifying for expansion, but whatever. I'm not entering this into the spreadsheet or anything yet; I really want to lock down the March numbers before I start up with the April ones. However, it was at least worth mentioning, especially since this is my home state and all... :)

Back when I assumed that I'd be pulling the plug on this website after March 31st, I didn't see the point of keeping track of the states which finally came around and added Medicaid expansion after the end of the Open Enrollment period. Not that I didn't think it was important, mind you; I just assumed that this site would be winding down in early April anyway, so it would be kind of pointless.

However, now that practically every state is extending their enrollment out to April 15 (or beyond, in a couple of cases) for those who started their application before Monday, along with the fact that Medicaid enrollment doesn't have a deadline anyway along with numerous other exceptions, it behooves me to make note of additions to the Expansion party as they come along.

From today's Detroit News, strong anecdotal evidence that Michigan, at least, is already seeing a spike in enrollment activity. The article also notes something that I didn't realize: I knew that anyone enrolling between 3/16-3/31 wouldn't have their policy coverage kick in until May 1st (and I've written about this several times), but I didn't realize that those who do so would have to apply for an exemption from the IRS next year:

Health insurers and advocates are expecting a surge in enrollment for insurance plans Saturday, the deadline to guarantee coverage beginning on April 1.

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!

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