California: 39K QHPs in 2 days, 4x Feb rate, 2x early March rate; Total Exchange QHP projection increased to 6.4M

Blammo. Remember how I noted that back in December, California managed to hit 30K exchange QHPs in a single day, and 20K/day for several other days between Christmas and New Year's Eve?

Well, it looks like we've hit the 20K/day mark. From today's L.A. Times:

The site — the main portal for insurance marketplaces in 36 states — drew 1.2 million visitors Tuesday and 1.1 million visitors Monday, according to the administration.

Over the same period, call centers received more than 500,000 calls. California's state-run health insurance exchange reported a similar surge in interest, with nearly 40,000 people picking a health plan Monday and Tuesday.

Now, this is awesome news, as it suggests a national rate of around 100K/day (CA has averaged around 20% of the national QHP enrollments all along).

However, it also poses a slight dilemma for me, since there's an 8 day gap between the existing March data (03/02 - 03/15) and these 2 days (03/24 - 03/25).

The first 2 weeks of March averaged 10,670/day. These two days nearly double the rate to around 19,500/day (assuming "nearly 40K" = around 39,000).

This is really, really tricky, because California is huge; even a slight variance can impact the projection table by a fairly large amount. However, I'm going to assume that the 8 days in between gradually ramped up, and therefore I'll split the difference, with a slight err on the downside. Call it an average of 14K/day for those 8 days?

That would give us: 10.7K/day >> 14K/day >> 19.5K/day

Of course, it's conceivable that the 3rd week of March actually saw a drop in enrollments, since there was the 3/15 cutoff for 4/01 coverage, but California has been going all-out, so I just don't see it in this case.

If I'm fairly close on this, it means California should have added around another 151,000 QHP enrollments since 3/15, for a total of around 300,000 in March to date (and a grand total of roughly 1.17 million through Tuesday).

Now, I'm making a LOT of assumptions here. Without knowing what was going on in that 8-day gap, I have to be cautious about upgrading my projections. However, according to Chad Terhune, one of the reporters who helped with the LA Times story (and who also confirmed that it was 39K on Mon/Tue combined, and that it did NOT include Medicaid), CoveredCA is holding a conference call tomorrow.

@charles_gaba coveredca conf call wed

— Chad Terhune (@chadterhune) March 27, 2014

Now, IF I'm fairly close and CA really has broken hit 1.17 million enrollments through the end of Tuesday, that would move the total projection up dramatically, to over 6.5 million exchange QHPs nationally.

However, to play it a bit safer, I'm going to reduce my overall "Surge Factor", which brings the total projection back down to a more conservative 6.4M for the moment; if tomorrows' conference call gives out an updated total, I'll update accordingly at that time.

As if I'm not sticking my neck out enough already, I'm even going to point out that if I'm correct about all of the above, we should hit the 6 million line sometime on Friday, and possibly even Thursday evening.

No pressure or anything...