OE4

The following press release just came out from the Colorado exchange:

CEO Blog: Record Setting Day for Connect for Health Colorado®

We did it! We met the very important December 15 deadline with positive energy and in my opinion, we knocked it out of the park! We’ve seen some very impressive numbers with 10,000 plan selections on Wednesday. And on Thursday we processed more than 12,000 plan selections! Thank you for your tireless efforts supporting our customers.

With the volume that we are seeing, we want to reiterate that we are committed to assisting customers with January 1 coverage who began the process by midnight December 15. If customers are delayed, they should call our Customer Service Center for assistance before finalizing their enrollment. Our established process for requesting an alternative start date can be used to facilitate this.

On Wednesday, CMS's Week 5/6 Snapshot report confirmed 4,015,709 QHP selections via the federal exchange (HC.gov), but also noted that "over 700,000" additional ACA enrollments came in on Monday and Tuesday. About an hour ago, President Obama confirmed a 1-day record-breaking 670,000 people signed up yesterday alone. A press release from the HHS Dept. was also just released stating:

  • On Monday, over 325,000 Americans selected plans on HealthCare.gov. On Tuesday, over 380,000 Americans selected plans on HealthCare.gov. This marked two of the biggest days in HealthCare.gov history.

Unfortunately, there's no hard numbers for Sunday or Wednesday, but I have a pretty good idea where they fell:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  •  Dec. 16, 2016

Covered California Enrollment Continues to Surge for January Coverage

Deadline Extended to Dec. 19 to Align With Federal Marketplace

  • Consumers now have through midnight on Monday, Dec. 19 to sign up and have their coverage begin starting Jan. 1.
  • More than 67,000 new consumers selected a plan during the past four days.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California is extending a key enrollment deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1 in order to align with a new federal announcement made yesterday that extends the deadline for HealthCare.gov states. 

Consumers enrolling through Covered California will now have through Monday, Dec. 19 at midnight to sign up for health care coverage that will begin on Jan. 1. 

Covered California hopes that by aligning the deadline with HealthCare.gov it will reduce any confusion that consumers may experience after hearing yesterday’s federal announcement, and give consumers the time they need to sign up for coverage.

Just to clarify, I fully realize that Disney/LucasFilm would've had to agree to such an official ad campaign.
I'm assuming that it's OK for me to do this under parody/fair use.
Images will be removed if requested. Please don't sue.

From Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplace:

“Millions of Americans have already signed up for coverage and tens of thousands more are in the process of getting coverage today. As we did last year, because of extraordinary volume of consumers contacting our call center or visiting HealthCare.gov, we are extending the deadline to sign-up for January 1 coverage until 11:59pm PST December 19Nearly a million consumers have left their contact information to hold their place in line.  Our goal is to provide affordable coverage to everyone seeking it before the deadline, and these two additional business days will give consumers an opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage.”

UPDATE: OK, I've confirmed that this is in fact a full 4-day deadline extension, so anyone can still sign up by Monday at midnight.

As I said a little while ago, until yesterday, I honestly wasn't expecting any of the exchanges to deviate from their official enrollment deadlines this year. Each year there've been fewer and fewer extensions, "overtime periods" and so forth allowed, as more and more people get used to how the system works and especially as the exchange websites become more streamlined & less buggy, with beefed-up sever capacity and so forth.

This afternoon, however...

And New York makes it three:

NY State of Health Deadline Extended! New Yorkers Now Have Until December 17 to Enroll in or Renew Health Insurance Coverage Beginning January 1, 2017

High Enrollment Activity Prompts Deadline Extension

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 15, 2016) - NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace today announced that the deadline to enroll or renew coverage for a health plan effective January 1 has been extended through December 17. The previous deadline was December 15. Consumers have two additional days to enroll in a plan with coverage starting January 1.

“NY State of Health is having the busiest open enrollment period yet and we want consumers to have a little more time to select a health plan for January 1, 2017.” said NY State of Health Executive Director, Donna Frescatore.

I'm genuinely surprised by this. While deadline extensions and "overtime periods" were all the rage during the first two Open Enrollment Periods, there were only a handful of states which bumped their deadlines out last year, and I was honestly expecting every state to stick with their original dates this time around.

Instead, yesterday Covered California announced a 2-day extension of their enrollment deadline for coverage starting in January; today, the Connecticut exchange announced the same:

LT. GOV. WYMAN, ACCESS HEALTH CT CEO JIM WADLEIGH, ANNOUNCE OPEN ENROLLMENT EXTENSION

Consumers Have Until December 17, 2016 to Enroll in Healthcare Coverage That Begins on January 1, 2017

12/20/16: Updated w/newer data

I've noted several times that while the total enrollments so far have been tracking my pre-election projections almost perfectly, the drop-off in new enrollments suggest potential trouble ahead. That is, the main reason the overall enrollment numbers are at or even ahead of my expectations so far is because more current enrollees are actively renewing their policies earlier, cancelling out the smaller number of new enrollees signing up. Obviously once those current renewals dry up (which will mostly happen this week), the rest of the enrollment period can't count on that any further.

Let's take a look at the new enrollees I've confirmed so far:

In yesterday's state-by-state roundup, I noted that there are 4 states where I didn't have any enrollment data whatsoever yet (ID, NY, VT & WA), plus only very limited numbers out of DC. Today, the Washington HealthPlanFinder scratched one of those off the list by providing the following update:

Since the start of open enrollment on Nov. 1, more than 160,000 individuals and families have already signed up for Qualified Health Plans (QHP) through Washington Healthplanfinder. The updated total reflects an increase of more than 20,000 QHP selections over the same point in the open enrollment period last year. In addition to 2017 QHP selections, more than 22,000 Washingtonians have signed up for Qualified Dental Plans (QDP) that are now offered through Washington Healthplanfinder.

Hmmm...the Colorado exchange hasn't issued an official enrollment update since the end of November, when it stood at 37,142 QHPs.

Today, in an article about the overall national numbers (mainly noting today's Week 5/6 Snapshot report), Kimberly Leonard of U.S. News & World Report cited a number I haven't seen elsewhere; I presume she simply called up the exchange directly. It seems about right to me:

Open enrollment began a week before Election Day, and several states reported that they didn't begin running ads until after that, saying they didn't want to compete with the attention the election was getting and noting that space sold during that time was particularly expensive.

That was the choice for Colorado, where enrollment is 16.3 percent higher than last year, totalling 50,207 people.

In addition, Leonard provides a couple of quick updates/corrections for some other states:

12/15/16: Updated w/Washington State data

As I noted after the 11/26 data was released, some key notes:

  • Most states are as of 12/10/16 (officially the end of the 6th week, even though it's "short" 2 days due to November starting on a Tuesday this year)
  • The red vertical line is where I expected each state to be as of 12/10/16...around 38% of where I project their final projected enrollments to be as of 1/31/17
  • For purposes of this graph, I'm defining "ahead" or "behind" as being plus or minus 2 percentage points.
  • South Dakota, Hawaii, Minnesota, Utah, Nebraska, Oregon, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Montana and Alabama are significantly ahead of where I expected them to be at this point.
  • On the other hand, New Hampshire, Michigan, Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Mississippi and especially Louisiana are all significantly behind so far.

Important Caveats:

Just a couple of days ago, MNsure reported 41,882 QHP selections as of December 11th (there was some confusion about the date but I've since confirmed this).

Today, just a day and a half before the deadline for January coverge, they've posted another update:

That's 2,395 more QHP selections in the past 2 days.

Just yesterday, Covered California reported 1.2 million renewals (including auto-renewals) of current ACA exchange enrollees, plus another 139,000 new QHP enrollments.

Today they've updated that to tack on another 14,000 new QHPs yesterday alone, bringing the grand total up to around 1,353,000 to date:

Covered California Extends Enrollment Deadline as Consumer Interest Continues to Grow

  • Consumers now have until midnight on Dec. 17 to sign up for health care coverage that will begin on Jan. 1.
  • More than 25,000 new consumers selected a plan during the past two days, which is more than enrolled at this time last year.
  • Open-enrollment plan selections continue to surge ahead of last year’s pace.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Thanks to a strong increase in demand, Covered California is giving consumers more time to sign up for health coverage that will start on Jan. 1.

Me, yesterday:

...There's a simple reason for this: When I whipped up this year's Graph, I forgot to take into account that November 1st fell on a Tuesday this year instead of a Sunday. Since enrollments tend to drop off substantially on weekends, this means that the slowdown comes 2 days earlier each week. For most weeks this is barely visible on the Graph, but this week in particular it can make a huge difference...up to a couple hundred thousand people per day.

In addition, normally CMS officially adds several million auto-renewals in a big lump sum around December 17-18th. Since those dates also fall over the weekend this year, I'm assuming they'll all be plugged in at once on Monday the 19th, resulting in an even more dramatic vertical line shooting up on that date.

With these tweaks in mind, here's what The Graph now looks like. Again, I haven't changed my key deadline projections, just the day-to-day flow within the current week or so.

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