New York

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.

This Just In...

154,000 have enrolled in QHP + Medicaid in NY #obamacare @charles_gaba @charlesornstein

— Dan Goldberg (@DanGoldbergCNY) December 12, 2014

Unfortunately no breakout between the two yet...hopefully soon...I also don't know what date that number runs through, nor do I know if the QHP tally includes new enrollments only (a la California & Connecticut) or if it also includes renewals as well.

Also, we now have our first official Deadline Extension due to the massive snowstorm in Buffalo/etc recently:

@charles_gaba State also says deadline to enroll for jan. extended to Dec. 20 b/c of "extreme weather"

— Dan Goldberg (@DanGoldbergCNY) December 12, 2014

Dan Goldberg and his colleagues over at Capital New York are killing it repeatedly when it comes to demographic breakdowns of NY's ACA enrollment. In the past they've provided awesome interactive maps of April enrollments of the entire state (by county) as well as September enrollments of just New York City itself (by zip code). Not just total enrollments, mind you: They've broken them out by QHPs, Medicaid and CHIP.

Considering that NYC has around 400 zip codes by itself, this was no doubt a rather Herculean task.

Today, however, they've gone one step further, with a state-wide map of September enrollments by zip code...and when you include the entire state of NY (not just NYC), you're talking about 2,200 zip codes (!) Excellent job!

This is a pretty short article, and it pretty much covers the bases, so I don't have too much to add...

As New York gears up for the Obamacare open-enrollment period that begins on Nov. 15, state officials have a vested interest in making sure things go smoothly. The success of health care reform in New York will be measured by how many residents maintain their coverage or sign up for the first time.

Just over 75% of those who used the state's new Obamacare exchange last year would recommend it to others, according to a new survey. But 92% of respondents who used the exchange to become newly insured were satisfied with the coverage, according to the survey, released Monday by the New York State Health Foundation.

However, there is one additional point I should add. Remember that ridiculous Bankrate survey I posted about yesterday which claimed that over half of ACA enrollees don't plan on using the exchanges again this year? Well...

Faced with a decision on whether to enroll again, 92% of respondents said they are at least somewhat likely to renew their coverage.

This is absolutely awesome...and extremely frustrating at the same time. Dan Goldberg and his chums at CNY have put together another extremely detailed breakdown of ACA enrollments in New York City, with QHPs, Medicaid and CHIP enrollees sorted out by individual zip code (a pretty herculean task given how many zip codes there are in NYC). Even more interesting (from my perspective, anyway) is that they've managed to get the current enrollment figures--updated through September. Since the NY exchange pointedly informed me back in June that they had no plans to release updated enrollment figures during the off-season at all, this is a huge development from my POV.

The only problem, of course, is that this map only gives the tally for NYC itself (about 8.4 million people total) not the rest of the state (about 19.6 million). Since my data is focused on the state-level numbers, this is frustrating; so close, and yet so far. I suppose I could extrapolate the numbers by multiplying each by 2.3x, but that doesn't work because the demographics are so vastly different between the two.

Anyway, for NYC itself, there's gobs of data-nuggety goodness to be found:

On Tuesday, the New York Daily News posted a story about a man in New York who is suing Empire BlueCross BlueShield because the insurance policy he purchased from them is essentially useless. As the header summarizes it:

Man sues Empire insurance company, claims search for doctor became ‘frustrating’ runaround

Jon Fougner says his simple search for a doctor through the insurance company website turned into a ‘Dickensian nightmare.’ Some doctors did not accept new patients, others never returned his calls, and some had wrong contact information listed on the Empire BlueCross BlueShield website, he claims. He accuses Empire of breach of contract, fraud and false advertising.

Between my son being sick for the past 4 days (he's better now, thanks!), losing my internet connection for 2 days (it's back up now, thanks!) and just generally being swamped with work, I don't have time to give these stories the attention they deserve, but they're all worth checking out:

Health Insurance: Enrolling Rural America

Americans living in rural areas will be a key target as states and nonprofit groups strategize how to enroll more people in health law insurance plans this fall.

Though millions of people signed up for private insurance or Medicaid in the first year of the Affordable Care Act, millions of others did not. Many live in rural areas where people “face more barriers,” said Laurie Martin, a RAND Corp. senior policy researcher. Brock Slabach, a senior vice president at the National Rural Health Association, said “the feds are particularly concerned about this.”

More legislators want to shut down Cover Oregon

Me, July 17th, re. Rhode Island's 2015 rate report:

The preliminary rate requests are just that: Preliminary. You can REQUEST anything; that doesn't mean you'll get it.

Me, July 22nd, re. New York's 2015 rate request report:

...as I noted last week, there's a huge difference between what the insurance companies are asking for and what they actually get approved. As noted in the article CNY article:

Last year, insurers requested 9.5 percent increases in premiums for their individual plans, but the state Department of Financial Services, which regulates insurers, approved, on average, only a 4.5 percent increase. 

Well, guess what?

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