OE4

The last hard enrollment number I had for Connecticut was 108,105 people enrolled through December 13, just 2 days before the original deadline for January coverage. However, like most states, CT bumped their deadline out an extra few days, so they ended up with 4 more days to sign people up before the January cut-off. It turns out they tacked on another 5,000 people in that time:

Access Health CT, the organization responsible for enrolling people in Obamacare, did not release numbers on how many people are enrolled in policies that take effect Jan. 1. Instead, they released a combined number of who's enrolled now and who will be enrolled next year: 113,161.

...Access Health CT noted that nearly 12,000 people who are currently enrolled are in plans that will not exist next year and are therefore not covered. They can still re-enroll, but they'll have a gap in coverage in January.

At this point in 2015, 100,314 people were scheduled to have Obamacare insurance coverage on Jan. 1, 2016.

With the HHS Dept. having just released the total number of 2017 Open Enrollment Period enrollees through the extended December deadline, I've been seeing a lot of comments on Twitter along the following:

Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia highest Obamacare enrollees... lol... Trumpers should have listened! #ACA #lawrenceodonnell

— NastyGO (@gwenorel1) December 23, 2016

There are two problems with this:

I did this for the heck of it back in 2015 and it's become sort of an annual tradition for me. On the one hand, with the 4th year added this layout is starting to get too confusing. On the other hand, it's looking very much like this will be the final year of ACA open enrollment anyway, so I guess that's a moot point.

It's important to bear in mind that the first Open Enrollment Period (for 2014 coverage) lasted a whopping six months...and even that was extended by 15 days due to the massive technical problems during the October 2013 launch period. Technically speaking, the 2014 open enrollment period lasted a total of 197 days, which has been time-compressed so the starting and ending dates match the other three years. That 15-day extension is also why the first big "surge" appears to come earlier on the graph than it actually did--it's been "pushed back" a bit.

As noted in my "Week 7 Plus" December Deadline Snapshot Report write-up, along with the updated State-by-State write-up, while I was dead on target in predicting enrollments up through the original 12/15 deadline at HC.gov, I seriously overestimated the additions who signed up during the 4-day "extension period". I figured it'd be anywhere from 750K - 1.0M; instead it was just 350,000 or so. However, since there are still several million auto-renewals left to be added to the mix, this doesn't necessarily mean anything; it could simply be a half-million or so more auto-renewals instead of active renewals will be added later this week.

I've confirmed 8.8 million QHP selections nationally to date. That leaves almost exactly 5.0 million more enrollees needed to reach this year's target of 13.8 million by January 31st. A pretty tall order, but we can cut that down to size:

IMPORTANT: The total enrollment numbers for the 39 HC.gov states are quite a bit behind last year. However, this is mainly because auto-renewals haven't been added to the totals yet for those 39 states yet. This makes it impossible to do an apples-to-apples comparison vs. last year for those states.

Since auto-renewals have already been added to most of the state-based exchange numbers but not to the federal exchange numbers, it gets a little tricky to visualize. The blue sections show how far ahead 11 states are based on their status. I'd expect any state which has already added in their auto-renewals to have reached around 85% of my final target, while those which haven't added them to the tally should only be at around 65%.

Based on that, among the states with auto-renewals baked in:

A few days ago, the Washington State exchange posted their first official enrollment report: 161,381 QHP selections as of 12/13.

Today, as part of a deadline reminder press release (WA is among 3 states which are still letting people sign up for January coverage as late as midnight Friday), they gave a rough update:

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today is warning customers without 2017 coverage that this Friday, Dec. 23 at 11:59 p.m. is the deadline to sign up for health and dental plans through Washington Healthplanfinder that begin on Jan. 1.

OK, for the first time this Open Enrollment Period, my expections were off base...significantly. The past two years, HHS was posting "weekly snapshot" reports of enrollments at the federal exchange (HC.gov). This year they switched to 2-week reports, but today they decided to issue a special "week-plus" version which covers enrollments through the (extended) 12/19 deadline for coverage starting January 1st.

As I noted last Friday, based on the massive surge in enrollments (a record-breaking 670,000 people) on the final original deadline day (12/15), I bumped up my estimates for the 4-day extension period from my original 6 million or so up to an even 7 million (assuming 250K/day). However, I later realized that two of those days fell over the weekend, when enrollments drop off substantially (and since the original deadline had already passed, even the extended deadline wouldn't make much difference weekend-wise). I pulled back my projection somewhat to 6.75 million.

However, it turns out I was still overestimating, although the numbers are still pretty impressive:

Last week, the Rhode Island exchange reported 27,555 QHP enrollees as of 12/10, a tiny increase over the prior week mainly due to auto-renewed enrollees dropping out, cancelling out most of the increase.

Rhode Island is one of 3 states which are still taking enrollments for January, but they've released another report (thorugh 12/17) which brings the tally up to 

INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY ENROLLMENT As of December 17, 2016

Yay! The DC exchange has issued their first OE4 enrollment report of the year! Boo! It doesn't include renewing enrollees (either active or passive):

DC Health Link Enrollment up Nearly 50% at First Deadline for 2017 Coverage  •  60% of new enrollees are 34 years old and younger

Washington, DC­­ – Today, the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (HBX) released preliminary individual marketplace data for the fourth open enrollment period for DCHealthLink.com, the District’s online health insurance marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses.

These preliminary data show that through December 19, 2016:

I noted a couple of weeks ago that Massachusetts has a unique methodology for reporting their ACA exchange enrollments. For one thing, they only officially count people who sign up for policies as "enrollees" after they've made their first monthly premium payment. In addition, like some other state exchanges, they "pre-renew" their current enrollees before the December deadline, and then reduce the official number from there as some people choose not to renew their coverage. As a result, instead of their "QHP selection" tally increasing, it actually starts out huge and then drops a bit as the enrollment period continues.

As a result, instead of 260,275 QHP selections, their number is a bit lower today:

Through Sunday, the 18th: 224,211 2017 enrollments. Plus, an additional 26,868 plans selected but unpaid at this point.

I actually missed this press release because it wasn't posted on their website in the usual spot, but someone at Your Health Idaho just forwarded this to me:

December 16, 2016 • Enrollment Numbers Up at Idaho Health Insurance Exchange

Business as Usual at Your Health Idaho as Enrollment Numbers Climb

BOISE, Idaho - Early enrollment numbers show a record number of Idahoans are enrolling for health insurance through the state-based health insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho. Over 98,000 Idahoans have selected a 2017 health insurance plan since open enrollment began on November 1, 2016. The numbers were announced at today's board of directors' meeting.

Nearly 85 percent of Idahoans currently enrolled in a plan on the exchange receive a tax credit to help offset monthly premium costs. Your Health Idaho is the only place in the state offering individuals premium tax credits.

Hot off the presses from the Colorado exchange (CO is one of six states which stuck with the original January enrollment deadline):

DENVER — More than 144,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace through Sunday, December 18, a rate 18 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“We have seen a definite increase in the pace of sign-ups during the first half of this Open Enrollment period,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson.  “These Coloradans have protected their health and their finances with healthcare coverage next year. I encourage anyone who does not yet have health insurance for 2017 to go to our site, Connectforhealthco.com, check to see if they qualify for financial assistance, review the available plans, and complete an enrollment. They can have coverage in place February 1 if they act by January 15.”

This Just In...(Minnesota was one of the few states which stuck with the original 12/15 deadline for January coverage):

ST. PAUL, Minn.— MNsure has enrolled 54,586 Minnesotans in private health care coverage, far outpacing the approximately 27,000 who had enrolled at a similar stage of open enrollment last year.

Additionally, since the start of open enrollment, 14,020 Minnesotans have eligibility determinations in MinnesotaCare and 43,327 in Medical Assistance.

The 2015-2016 open enrollment period set a record for the most Minnesotans enrolled in private health plans, but the 2016-2017 period has been even more brisk. By December 28, 2015, the deadline for January 1 enrollment last year, about 27,000 had enrolled, meaning enrollment numbers are twice what they were at the same time last year.

Quickly before I leave for the evening: Just received the 12/15 enrollment number from the Maryland exchange:

  • 148,610 QHP selections total
  • 87,009 of these are auto-renewals
  • This is slightly ahead of last year's 12/15 tally

Will add to spreadsheet/etc. later this evening.

Nice catch by ME: This is actually slightly lower than last year as of the same date.

I made my original 2017 Open Enrollment Period projections before November 1st, and have only made a couple of modifications to The Graph since then...mainly to account for the fact that the 1st fell on a Tuesday this year instead of a Sunday. None of this changed my final projection of around 13.8 million QHP selections nationally by the end of OE4 on January 31, 2017.

In fact, the only time I seriously considered changing my final projection was November 9th, when I briefly speculated that Donald Trump's election could cause a disastrous drop-off in enrollments, flatlining at perhaps 1.5 million total. This particular concern was, fortunately, unfounded, as it turned out that not only did enrollments end up pacing my projections almost pefectly, they were actually running slightly ahead of my expectations overall.

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