Reminder: The March HHS Report MAY claim 6.5M QHPs instead of 7.1M...for an obvious reason (UPDATED)
I talked about this a couple of weeks ago, but given that the March HHS report should be released sometime this week (unless it's delayed due to the craziness of the late-March surge), I thought it was important to post again:
The March HHS Enrollment Report may leave off March 30th and 31st, and therefore leave 600,000 exchange QHP enrollments to be tacked onto the April report instead.
Every one of the prior 5 HHS reports on ACA enrollments has been tied to the calendar week instead of the calendar month, cutting the tally off on whatever Saturday happens to fall closest to the end of that month:
- The October report actually ran from 10/01 - 11/02 (33 days)
- The November report ran from 11/03 - 11/30 (28 days)
- The December report ran from 12/01 - 12/28 (28 days...that's right, they moved the last 3 days of the year onto the January report)
- The January report ran from 12/29 - 2/01 (35 days...that's why it was so impressive: It was 5 weeks instead of 4, and included the last 3 days of the late-December surge)
- The February report ran from 02/02 - 03/01 (28 days...and that's why it seemed weak compared to January; there was a built-in 20% disadvantage for counting 4 weeks instead of 5)
So, what about the March report?
Well, if they hadn't extended the deadline, I figured HHS would make an exception and tack Sunday, March 30th & Monday, March 31st onto the March report.
However, with the 4/15 extension, and given that they did move the last few days of December into the January report, it's very likely that they'll move the 30th & 31st--during which up to a whopping 600,000 people may have enrolled--onto the April report, which probably won't be released until early May.
Since I expect the 4/15 total to end up somewhere around 7.8 million, here's how the two reports would look if this happened:
- March Report (3/02 - 3/29...28 days): 2.26 million QHPs for around 6.5 million cumulative
- April Report (3/30 - 5/03...35 days): 1.3 million QHPs for around 7.8 million cumulative
Now, April 30th happens to fall on a Wednesday, so I don't really know if HHS will cut that report off on May 3rd, April 26th or April 30th itself, but it shouldn't really matter since the only states which will still have their extension period running by that point are Oregon and Nevada, so the numbers probably won't add up to more than a few hundred more people.
It's also possible that I'm wrong and they'll include March 30th-31st on the March report after all.
HOWEVER, if they don't, you already know what's gonna happen: FOX, Breitbart, NewsBusters, HotAir, Glenn Beck and all the other right-wing outlets will once again start yammering about "cooked books" and other such blather when the 7.1M figure "shrinks" to 6.5M.
I will admit one thing: This confusion could have been easily avoided if HHS would just use the actual calendar months for their cut-off date from the start, but perhaps there are procedural regulations which require them to go by the week instead of the month.
The open enrollment period for health insurance coverage for Floridians under the Affordable Care Act is extended through April 30 for people whose paper applications are received by April 7.