The first number has been pretty confusing to me over the past few months, because the actual number of people who selected QHPs during the 2016 open enrollment period was reported as just over 200,000 by both the exchange itself as well as in the official national ASPE report, so I wasn't quite sure whether to report the net effectuated enrollment drop since then as being almost none at all or around 15%. I finally went with the 15% figure because dividing into the 177K number just didn't make sense by any other measure.
Last month I noted that the Washington Healthplanfinder was reportingcurrently effectuated QHP enrollment at 170,527 as of the end of March, a 15.0% drop from the official number of QHP selections during the 2016 Open Enrollment Period. I also noted that due to some confusion about how the numbers are reported by the exchange, it could also be argued that WA has seen just a 6.6% net drop, depending on how you look at it.
However, since 200,691 is the official number included in the ASPE report, I'm finally letting that one go...and actually, that's OK, because a 15% drop by 3/31 is fairly close to what I would expect anyway (a bit higher than the 13% national drop from last year, but not out of line).
Anyway, the WA exchange just released their May report (with data through the end of April), and it's actually pretty good--there's only been a very slight net drop since March, for an overall drop of just 15.2% from the 200K figure:
13 health insurers file 154 plans for 2017 - 13.5 average requested rate change • May 16, 2016
OLYMPIA, Wash.– Thirteen health insurers have filed 154 individual health plans for 2017 both inside and outside of the Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder. The average requested rate change based on enrollment is 13.5 percent.
According to the ASPE report, as of 1/31/16, 200,691 people had selected QHPs via the WA exchange. This is completely consistent with the exchange's own final report of "more than 200,000".
However, according to their March monthly enrollment dashboard report, the Washington HealthplanFinder only had 176,914 people having "Selected a Plan" as of February...and of those, only 156,493 were reported by the carriers as having paid.
That payment rate is a quite reasonable 88.5%, which is slightly lower than my general 90% rule of thumb estiamate nationally but not out of line at all. However, what's the deal with that 177K topline figure? Where did the remaining 23,777 people go?
Based on that discrepancy, the MA Health Connector has increased their enrollment by either a nominal 0.6% or an impressive 9.5%, depending on what you use as the starting number.
Well, this morning I've found a similar report for the Washington exchange, and this one makes even less sense to me because it not only contradicts the ASPE report, it seems to contradict the WA exchange itself.
The Washington State ACA exchange has been very good about providing enrollment updates over the final couple of weeks of open enrollment, although the numbers have been included as part of general press releases rather than detailed demographic breakdowns.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 200,000 Washingtonians selected a Qualified Health Plan through Washington Healthplanfinder by the close of open enrollment on Jan. 31. The number of plans selected is nearly 25 percent higher than those selected in open enrollment last year, with approximately 39,000 more customers signed up for coverage this year than in 2015.
Through the first 12 weeks of open enrollment, more than 188,000 residents have selected a Qualified Health Plan for coverage in 2016. Those sign-ups represent a 30 percent increase in plans selected over the first 12 weeks of open enrollment last year.
I presume "the first 12 weeks" means as of 1/23, which would mean another 8,000 people in just 2 days, which is excellent if true (WA was one of 3 states to have a later February coverage deadline...of 1/23).
In any event, this brings WA up to 188,000 people, or 89.5% of my 210K target for the state.
That leaves just 1 week to enroll at least 22,000 people, or 3,142 per day, which actually seems doable after all.
While this isn't an official update, yesterday they posted this blog entry, pushing today's deadline for February coverage (again, the final deadline for coverage starting in March is still January 31st, like every other state):
Washington Healthplanfinder has seen a continued increase in sign-ups as residents coming into the final days of open enrollment. An additional 11,000 customers have selected new or renewed health plans since the start of the new year, bringing the total number of sign-ups to 180,000 since open enrollment began on Nov. 1.
In 2014 and 2015, the Washington State ACA exchange was one of a handful of exchanges which also handled the billing for QHP enrollees...and in their case, ran into a lot of technical problems in doing so. This year, they've given up on trying to handle the payments themselves, offloading them to the actual insurance carriers as most other states do. I have no idea how much impact this change has had as opposed to improved outreach, the individual mandate penalty increase and so on, but whatever the reasons, WA's numbers are dramatically improved this year:
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that nearly 174,000 residents have signed up for or renewed their health coverage as 2016 open enrollment enters its final month. The deadline to select a Qualified Health Plan through wahealthplanfinder.org is Jan. 31 for coverage effective March 1. Customers who select a plan by Jan. 23 will have their coverage start Feb. 1.
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is alerting residents today that only a few hours remain to sign up for health coverage throughwahealthplanfinder.org that goes into effect on Jan. 1. Customers have until tomorrow, Dec. 23 to select a Qualified Health Plan that begins at the start of the New Year.
As of Monday evening, 162,000 Washingtonians have selected Qualified Health Plans through Washington Healthplanfinder.
While the deadline for Jan. 1 coverage extends to 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 23, the Exchange is advising customers to select plans by 10 p.m. that evening and avoid the expected heavy online traffic. Customers who sign up after that time may be asked to take additional steps on the way to having their coverage confirmed.
Yesterday they issued a mid-December update; the total number is now up to over 150,000:
The upcoming deadline coincides with the biggest surge in sign-ups seen during the current enrollment period. Since the start of the month more than 27,000 customers have selected plans for coverage starting Jan. 1, bringing the total number of those selecting coverage since the start of open enrollment to over 150,000.
OK, this is a bit of a downer on an otherwise extremely positive day, but given my recent obsession with trying to track down the number of people still currently enrolled in effectuated policies for 2015, it seems worth making note of.
Back in early November, I cobbled together the effectuated enrollment data from 8 different state-based exchanges, and concluded that the numbers stayed relatively from the end of June through the end of September. With Massachusetts included, the numbers were actually higher, and even without MA included (special case) it was only down a nominal amount. With only 8 states representing a small percentage of the national population, however, there was no way of knowing how representative this was.