New York

Huh. This is kind of weird...two completely different stories, from two different reporters (although both are via the Associated Press) about the latest Medicaid expansion numbers from two of the largest states at opposite ends of the country: California and New York.

This wouldn't be surprising if there had been a major report/press release regarding Medicaid enrollment nationally broken out by state, of course, but as far as I know there hasn't been (the last report from CMS came out in early June, only runs through March and doesn't distinguish between "traditional" and "expanded" Medicaid anyway).

In any event, I'm happy to report that the numbers actually line up pretty closely with what I already had estimated for each state:

Over the past couple of weeks, I've posted a bunch of entries both here and over at healthinsurance.org about not freaking out when you see "OMG!!! MASSIVE OBAMACARE RATE HIKES NEXT YEAR WE'RE ALL GONNA DIIIIIIIIE!!!"-style headlines such as this giant one from CNN Money:

The angle being played is emphasized right off the bat with the big, scary-looking graphic above the story:

Even the sub-headline pushes the hair-on-fire meme:

After one botched vote, two years and an all-out resistance blitz by the Koch Bros and their ilk which was so obnoxious that they managed to alienate local Republicans, the Medicaid expansion provision of the Affordable Care Act has finally officially passed both the state House and Senate of Montana, and should be signed into law by the Democratic governor any moment now.

HELENA (AP) – The state Legislature has passed a bill expanding Medicaid eligibility to about 70,000 low-income Montana residents.

The bill approved Saturday heads to Gov. Steve Bullock, who is expected to sign it into law.

Now that the King v. Burwell Supreme Court oral arguments are out of the way (with radio silence expected until they announce the decision sometime in June) , the next Big Development to keep an eye on ACA-wise is...Tax Season! There will be plenty of stories about how many people have to pay back some/all of their 2014 tax credits, how many will receive additional tax credits...and, most germane to this site, how many additional people enroll via the exchanges to avoid having to pay (most) of the higher tax penalty next year for not being covered in 2015 during the Tax Filing Season Special Enrollment Period (SEP), or #ACATaxTime as I prefer to call it.

Once the ball started rolling on #ACAOvertime extension periods, there was no stopping it; within a few days, all 50 states (+DC) had announced either full or "waiting in line" enrollment extension periods.

The same thing seems to be happening with additional "Tax Season" enrollment periods for people who didn't realize they owed/will owe a tax penalty for not having proper health insurance coverage. Washington was the first to make their announcement; Minnesota and Vermont quickly followed; this morning Healthcare.Gov (which covers 37 states) made it official; a few hours ago, California joined the club, and just now, New York chimed in:

Busy day! New York has issued their enrollment update:

Press Release: NY State of Health Ends Second Open Enrollment with More Than 2.1 Million Enrollees

Feb 18, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 18, 2015)—New York State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace, today announced that more than 2.1 million people signed up for health insurance by the end of the second open enrollment period, which began on November 15, 2014 and ended on February 15, 2015. Eighty-eight percent of Marketplace enrollees reported that they were uninsured at the time they enrolled. New Yorkers who have enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace have overwhelmingly reported that they are satisfied with their health insurance (92 percent) and are using their coverage to access care (84 percent).

I've confirmed that Rhode Island's weather-induced enrollment extension is indeed state-wide and is of the "full" variety (ie, people can start the application process, not just finish it), through February 23rd. This is exactly the same policy that the Massachusetts exchange announced the other day.

Also, a late-breaking extension announced from Maryland.

11:45pm: OK, add the DC exchange to the pile.

9:00am 2/16/15: OK, HHS/CMS has clarified the specifics for the 37 Healthcare.Gov states.

11:50am 2/16/15: Idaho's policy took some work to decipher...

2:24pm 2/16/15: ...and Minnesota...

And so, the Open Enrollment Period extensions are officially underway. I was expecting underperforming states like Washington and Minnesota to be the first out of the gate, but instead, the first three states to make formal announcements are California, Massachusetts and now, New York:

  • California: Yesterday, CoveredCA announced a 5-day "Waiting in Line" extension policy (ie, as long as you've started the enrollment process as of midnight on Sunday 2/15, you'll have until Friday, 2/20 to complete the process.
  • Massachusetts: Just a few hours ago, the MA Health Connector announced that due to getting slammed with 3 massive snowstorms in the past few weeks, as well as a 4th major one sweeping in right now, they're bumping out the full enrollment period (ie, no "have to be in line already" caveat) by a full 8 days, until February 23rd.
  • And just this moment, the New York State of Health has announced that like California, they're going the "Waiting in Line" route: Anyone who starts the process by midnight Sunday will have until February 28th to actually select a plan and check out. It's important to note that NY residents who enroll between 2/16 - 2/28 won't have their policy kick in until April 1st, however.

So, who'll be next? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller??

Huge enrollment news day--this is unexpected but welcome on top of the HC.gov report:

Press Release: Governor Cuomo Announces NY State of Health Hits Benchmark of Two Million Enrollees

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State of Health (NYSOH) Marketplace has enrolled more than two million New Yorkers in affordable health insurance coverage. This is the latest record enrollment for New York’s health exchange, and 89 percent of enrollees have reported that they had no coverage at the time they joined the Marketplace. New Yorkers who have enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace have overwhelmingly reported that they are satisfied with their health insurance (92 percent) and are using their coverage to access care (84 percent).

Latest enrollment breakdown:

· Total cumulative enrollment: 2,004,827
· Total Medicaid enrollment: 1,491,859
· Total private coverage: 512,968

· Total new 2015 enrollment: 429,972
· Total new 2015 Medicaid enrollment: 297,423
· Total new private coverage: 132,549
· Renewal rate in private coverage: 85 percent

Yesterday, Peter Lee of Covered California held a phone press conference in which he gave out updated data for new QHP enrollments (bringing the total up to over 217K), but refused to give out any numbers whatsoever when it comes to renewals / re-enrollments of 2014 enrollees...whether these were done actively by the enrollee or automatically by the system.

Needless to say, I was pretty irritated by this and wrote a cranky screed about it.

Just now, I've learned that the other major state exchange missing data--New York State of Health--has apparently stated that not only are they not giving out their renewal/re-enrollment data either, they aren't even going to give out any new updates until February 1st:

Yesterday I publicly declared that total QHP selections nationally had reached the 9 million milestone. I based this on 4 data points:

  • The 6.59 million confirmed by the HHS Dept. for the 37 states run through HC.gov,
  • The 980K confirmed by the 14 assorted state-run exchanges,
  • The unreported renewals (both active and automatic) from California & New York, and
  • Another roughly 150,000 scattered amongst all 50 states & DC since the date of their most recent updates until today (which varies from as little as 1 day to as much as 25 days in the case of Idaho).

If you do the math, you'll see that the biggest missing piece here is the 3rd item above: Covered California and New York State of Health have, to date, still refused to give out any re-enrollment/renewal data for 2014 QHP enrollees. Not just autorenewal numbers, but active renewals as well.

When we last checked in on New York State, they had added a total of 195,000 new people since November 15th in addition to those already enrolled for 2014. This broke out to around 126.6K added to Medicaid and 68.4K set up for 2015 private policies.

NY's enrollment deadline for January QHP coverage ended on Saturday, and they've just come out with an updated total. Again, this does not include renewals of current enrollees:

NY up to 225,244, enrollment, not counting renewals @charles_gaba hopefully medicaid /qhp breakdown soon

— Dan Goldberg (@DanGoldbergCNY) December 22, 2014

Again, no breakout yet; that usually shows up within an hour or so of the initial total, based on Dan Goldberg's past scoops. Assuming it's roughly a 65/35 split like the prior total was, that should mean roughly 79,000 private policies and 146,000 Medicaid/CHIP.

I'll update this with more details as they come out...

A quick reminder: If you live in Idaho or New York, today is the deadline to enroll in a private healthcare policy if you want coverage starting on January 1st, 2015.

Here's the upcoming deadlines for January coverage for other states:

Massachusetts, Rhode Island & Washington State: Tuesday, December 23rd

Minnesota & Vermont: Wednesday, December 31st

If you live in any other state, you have until January 15th to enroll for coverage starting on February 1st.

Dan Goldberg of Capital New York reports that there have been 40K additional enrollments in NY since the previous update, which ran through Thursday the 11th:

NY enrolled 40k more since last Thursday. # inc. Medicaid and QHP. no breakdown yet. #Obamacare cc: @charles_gaba @charlesornstein

— Dan Goldberg (@DanGoldbergCNY) December 17, 2014

@charles_gaba @charlesornstein 60:40 says ny health leader

— Dan Goldberg (@DanGoldbergCNY) December 17, 2014

I'll update this as details come in, but a 60/40 split would make it around 24K Medicaid & 16K private policies, for totals of:

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.

Pages