New York: Private up 15K, Medicaid up 29K...and the impact on Feb. enrollment is...?

Hat Tip To: 
Happy Voter

Ah, just in time to help clear up my confusion about the New York situation from over the weekend: The latest tally has NY with a total of 266,177 private QHP enrollments, up 14,871 from 251,306 a week earlier. Medicaid enrollment via the exchange is up to 189,865 from 160,915, an increase of 28,950.

This is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First of all, this gives some additional, solid data to plug into my weekend "NY Enrollment Number Mystery Project" that I've written a couple of posts about the past few days. Connected to this, however, is something which may be cause for a bit of concern--up until now, New York has been bucking the tide and averaging around a 60/40 split in favor of private QHP enrollments. Today's additions, however, reverse that with the numbers switching to 34/66 in favor of Medicaid enrollments:

Another 44,000 people enrolled in a health insurance plan through the state's exchange over the past week, pushing the total to 456,042, according to the state Department of Health.

Of the total enrollees, 69 percent did not have insurance at the time of their application. A total of 266,177 enrolled in private plans through the exchange, while 189,865 were placed on a Medicaid plan, according to the exchange.

So, what does this mean for the overall February trend?

Well, here's my original chart showing February enrollments vs. January for the dozen or so states that have provided partial February data:

As I noted the other day, this isn't very useful since both Nevada and Vermont are clearly messed up, and New York doesn't make much sense judging by the official HHS numbers for each month. I'd love it if February has actually seen a massive spike in enrollments, but that doesn't make sense compared with the other states--and as I later clarified, it isn't the case.

So, let's see what happens when we remove Nevada and Vermont completely, and enter the corrected data for New York (taking into account the fact that the 222K number is as of January 20, not February 1st:

Well, the good news is that this makes a lot more sense...the bad news is that it's not looking good for overall February enrollment.

Next, let's take a look at the same data using today's update through 2/17:

Hmmm...still looking pretty bad for February nationally, but notice that the New York daily average has actually increased over the past week when added to the 1/21 - 2/10 numbers.

Finally, let's look at just the past week's average for New York alone: 14,871 enrollments in 7 days. That averages out to 2,124 per day...only a 25% drop from January's 2,831/day. Better, but still disappointing. I'm afraid that the switch from a 60/40 Private/Medicaid ratio to a 34/66 ratio was, indeed, a bit of a warning sign.

Overall, it's looking like a substantial drop-off from January's rate is in the making for February at this point. Bear in mind that this is in addition to the "automatic" 20% drop that'll happen simply due to the February report having 4 weeks instead of January's 5 weeks. On top of that, note that the exchange is partially offline for a three-day period at the moment for scheduled maintenance, so I have to admit, February very well may see a substantially lower total number than January did.

On the other hand, this data is still a bit spotty, as it only measures states representing 16% of the country, and only about 1/3 of the month at that. I'll keep an eye on the state-level data to see if any other states show better numbers; a small spike over January's enrollments from a state like California could negate the 10 states above in one shot.

Now, here's the good news: The percentage of previously uninsured enrollees is increasing, and at a substantial rate. Remember, in the prior update New York was at 66% "previously uninsured" out of 412,221...about 272,000 people. The new update says the total "previously uninsured" number is 69%... or around 315,000. That means that over 42,000 of the 44,000 enrollees over the past week were previously uninsured.

Unfortunately, we don't have a Private QHP/Medicaid breakdown of the "previously uninsured" numbers, but even if all 29,000 of the new Medicaid additions were uninsured before, that still means that at least 13,000 of the 15,000 new Private QHP enrollees were as well...almost 90% of them.