OE4

After New York and Washington State, Maryland is the 3rd state to release their final official OE4 enrollment numbers:

NEARLY 158,000 MARYLANDERS ENROLLED IN HEALTH COVERAGE FOR 2017 THROUGH THE STATE MARKETPLACE

INCLUDING MEDICAID, 501,000 HAVE ENROLLED SINCE NOV. 1

BALTIMORE (Feb. 1, 2017) – A total of 157,637 Marylanders enrolled in private health coverage plans for 2017 by yesterday’s deadline for open enrollment, capped by the largest single-day call volume ever for Maryland Health Connection, the state’s health insurance marketplace.

Including Medicaid enrollments, more than a half-million Marylanders have newly enrolled or renewed in health coverage for 2017 through the state marketplace since Nov. 1 when open enrollment began. Maryland Health Connection now covers 1.1 million in all — one of every six people in Maryland.

Hmmm...I'm honestly not sure what this last number (1.1 million covered by the exchange) refers to...they just said it was 158K QHPs + 343K in Medicaid = 501K total.

I'm actually a bit surprised that NY State of Health is the first state exchange out of the gate with final enrollment numbers, but good for them:

Press Release: NY State of Health Announces Enrollment Surges: More Than 3.6 Million New Yorkers Secure Health Coverage

Feb 1, 2017

  • Nearly 50,000 sign up during final two days of Open Enrollment
  • An additional 800,000 New Yorkers enroll through the Marketplace since January 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 1, 2017) -- NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace, today announced that more than 3.6 million New Yorkers enrolled in comprehensive health coverage through NY State of Health, a 28 percent increase from 2016.

“New York continues its commitment to bring affordable, comprehensive health coverage to New Yorkers” said NY State of Health Executive Director, Donna Frescatore. “New Yorkers now have access to affordable health insurance coverage, giving hundreds of thousands of previously uninsured individuals economic and healthcare security.”

I've stated many times over the past few weeks that between the GOP actively starting the legislative repeal process with preliminary votes, Trump actually taking office, his executive order within hours of doing so instructing the HHS Dept. to actively sabotage implementation of the ACA, and the last-minute yanking of TV advertising for the final few days of Open Enrollment that there's simply no way of making a solid prediction about what the final enrollment tally will end up being.

However, based on previous yearly patterns and spot-checks of HealthCare.Gov and the buzz from some of the state exchanges earlier today, I'm still gonna take a shot: I expect the final QHP selection tally to come in...pretty damned close to last year's 12.7 million, actually.

Officially, I'm giving it a range of anywhere between 12.4 - 13.0 million, with around 9.5 - 10.0 million of that coming via the federal exchange (which covers 39 states this year, including Kentucky) and the remaining 3 million or so being courtesy of the 12 remaining state-based exchanges.

Now that Minnesota, California and especially HealthCare.Gov (with Trump's blessing???) have issued overtime/extension periods of one type or another, this isn't particularly surprising to read, but Connect for Health Colorado is joining the Overtime Bandwagon as well:

Connect for Health Colorado® Extends Enrollment Deadline in Response to Surge in Sign-ups
Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

DENVER — Connect for Health Colorado® today announced it is giving consumers who attempt to enroll by the Jan. 31 deadline three more days to complete their enrollment.

Individuals who began the enrollment process by midnight Tuesday will have until 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, to choose a health insurance plan that will be in effect March 1, 2017. Friday will be the last day to purchase coverage this year, except for customers who experience a qualifying life change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing your employer-sponsored insurance, or moving to Colorado.

First Minnesota's ACA exchange, MNsure, announced an 8-Day "don't call it an extension!" Special Enrollment Period mainly targeted at providing a 25% premium discount for those who don't qualify for the normal federal APTC/CSR financial assistance.

Now, Covered California has announced their own 4-day "Overtime" period, although this is more of the standard "waiting in line" variety:

Covered California Gives Consumers More Time to ‘Cross the Finish Line’ as It Prepares for Surge of Enrollment

  • Consumers must begin the application process by the end of Jan. 31 and complete their enrollment by the end of Feb. 4.
  • Thousands of Certified Insurance Agents and Community Enrollment Partners are ready to provide free and confidential in-person assistance.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced it is giving consumers who attempt to enroll by the Jan. 31 deadline four more days to complete their enrollment.

I'm typing this at 9:40am on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017.

The 2017 Open Enrollment Period ends at Midnight tonight (I'm assuming that's Eastern time).

That means you still have just over 14 hours to enroll for a Qualified Health Plan for the rest of 2017. If you enroll today (and pay your first month's premium), your policy will go into effect starting March 1st, and as long as you keep paying your premiums, should remain in effect until December 31st.

Many people are understandably concerned or outright scared about what will happen to their coverage given the insanity swirling around the Trump Administration, the Republicans in the House and Senate actively taking steps to repeal the ACA and so forth.

Now, I've already said many times that 2018 coverage options are likely to be a complete disaster thanks to the massive uncertainty and sabotage being deliberately created by both Donald Trump and the GOP. For the current year, 2017, it's a different story.

So, here's what you need to know:

From a last-minute press release:

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is alerting customers that tomorrow, Jan. 31 is the deadline to sign up for 2017 health and dental coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder.

Individuals and families have until 11:59 p.m. tomorrow to select a plan that is good for the remainder of the year. Residents who fail to secure coverage by the deadline could be required to wait until the following year to sign up for health and dental coverage.

This may seem a little silly, but given the upcoming Open Enrollment deadline, the did-they-or-didn't-they confusion regarding the Trump administration's attempt to pull the final TV commercial/social media/phone/email notifications and the general insanity going on right now, I figured it might be helpful to provide direct links to the various ACA (Obamacare) websites for people to actually sign up for 2017 coverage.

Remember, regardless of how much the GOP-held Congress screws things up for 2018, signing up for a Qualified Health Policy (QHP) via one of these exchange websites by Tuesday, January 31st at Midnight should lock in both your policy and premium rate through the end of 2017.*

With that in mind:

Last week I posted an exclusive story over at healthinsurance.org regarding attempts by the Minnesota Republican-held legislature to sneak in a nasty amendment which, had it passed and been signed into law, would have given insurance carriers the right to offer policies which cover, basically nothing whatsoever.

The story ended on a happy note a few days later, as the massive negative backlash caused the state GOP to yank the amendment from the bill in question just before it went to the final vote. Awesome!!

However, I never really explained exactly what bill the pulled amendment was attached to in the first place. I should have written up a full entry on this, but have been swamped all week due to the political insanity and rapidly-changing situation on everything, so here's the basics:

New Mexico is one of five states (also including Nevada, Oregon, Hawaii and Kentucky) which technically operate their own state-based ACA exchange, but utilize HealthCare.Gov as their website enrollment platform. As such, their enrollment numbers are usually only released along with the other three dozen states on the federal exchange.

However, once in awhile they post the enrollment numbers themselves; today is such a day:

@charles_gaba NMHIX: 52,006 total signups - almost as much as last year. Still anticipating a surge as NMHIX continues ads and outreach.

— Colin (@colinb1123) January 27, 2017

The breakout here is 36,579 renewals + 15,427 new enrollees, or a 70/30 split.

Last year, New Mexico's total came in at 54,865 QHP selections, so they've hit 95% of that so far.

My original target for New Mexico for this year was 60,000, though I've knocked this down to 57,000 more recently. They're at around 91% of that so far, with less than a week to go. They'll have to add another 5,000 people in the final surge, which seems unlikely, but who knows?

It may seem a little silly to keep posting these tiny individual-state updates with everything going on at the moment, but every enrollee counts. Access Health CT held their monthly board meeting yesterday and posted some noteworthy data/policy points.

The irony is that this is exactly how the ACA should be being handled by Congress and the President: By using actual hard data and logic, problem-solving, fixing what's broken and improving upon what isn't.

...none of which seems to mean a damned thing to Trump or the Trumpublican Party.

107,736 have enrolled in a QHP for 2017. That includes 12k new customers. #AHCTBoDMeeting

— Access Health CT (@AccessHealthCT) January 26, 2017

Last year, 50% of #AHCT customers used broker to enroll. This year, only 25%. #AHCTBoDMeeting

With the GOP Congress still obsessed with repealing the ACA and Donald Trump doing everything in his power to sabotage the law whether it gets repealed or not, the final 5 days of the 2017 Open Enrollment Period, which would normally see a spike in enrollments regardless, is going into a bit of a panic mode. Trump and his Republican cohorts are doing whatever he can to discourage people from enrolling before the deadline, while the insurance carriers, healthcare advocates and everyone else is doing whatever they can to encourage it.

New York State of Health, the NY ACA exchange, just announced that with the 1/31 final deadline rapidly approaching next Tuesday, they're extending their customer service hours on Saturday and Sunday.

The last time Covered California released enrollment data, they gave a hard number for new enrollees (258,158) but left the number of people renewing their policies a bit vague ("approximately 1.3 million"). I later learned that the actual number of renewals had been rounded up, so I'm assuming it's actually around 1.27 million; this gives a total of 1.53 million QHP selections as of January 3rd.

Today, CoveredCA issued another update, touting a new enrollee survey which concludes that in California, at least, people don't seem to be shying away from enrolling in spite of the ugly ACA repeal rhetoric coming out of Washington, DC:

Covered California Enrollment Continues at Strong Pace; New Research Suggests ACA News Coverage Is Not Deterring Consumers

In their first enrollment update report two weeks ago, the NY State of Health exchange reported these numbers as of Christmas Eve:

The breakdown of enrollment as of December 24, 2016, is as follows:

  • Total cumulative enrollment: 3,472,214
  • Total Medicaid enrollment: 2,332,683
  • Total Non-Medicaid enrollment: 1,139,531
  • Essential Plan: 635,909
  • Qualified Health Plan: 217,995
  • Child Health Plus: 285,627

On Saturday they updated their numbers through January 19th:

Another 1,578 people have selected exchange QHPs via Access Health CT since the last update on January 12th:

ACCESS HEALTH CT ENROLLS 106,891 CONSUMERS IN HEALTH INSURANCE
1,192 enrolled in dental care, 1,519 enrolled through the Small Business Program

HARTFORD, Conn. (January 20, 2017) – Today, Access Health CT (AHCT) CEO Jim Wadleigh announced that 106,891 individuals have enrolled in health insurance in 2017. In addition, 1,192 individuals enrolled in dental coverage and 1,519 enrolled via the Small Business Program.

“As we head towards the final days of Open Enrollment, which ends on January 31st, we want to remind Connecticut residents that Access Health CT offers many ways to get free help choosing a plan,” said AHCT CEO Jim Wadleigh. “We are also very happy to see people taking advantage of the dental coverage we offer.”

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