Heads Up: Census Report Tomorrow Irrelevant to ACA Impact; CMS Update Today Might Be Relevant

Hat Tip To: 
Dylan Scott

Two Big ACA-related Announcements are coming up in the next 24 hours; one is pretty much meaningless, the other could be meaningful:

First, as reported by Dylan Scott over at TPM:

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the Census Bureau will release a new report on health insurance in America.

...The problem with the new numbers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt, is that the Census Bureau's survey cuts off at March 31. That means 3 million people-plus who signed up in the law's final weeks of enrollment will still count as uninsured, even though they have since been covered.

"I think it’s fair to say tomorrow’s release will be essentially meaningless in judging the effects of the Affordable Care Act," Levitt told TPM in an email.

This is basically like that ridiculous GOP House Commerce/Energy Committee "How many have PAID??" survey which tried to include all 8 million enrollees even though payments from 3 million of those people wouldn't be due for weeks or even months after the survey was completed. Not that the Census Bureau report is "rediculous"; a quarterly report is perfectly reasonable. It just won't tell us much about the actual impact of the exchanges since a good 40% of the enrollees won't be included in it.

On the other hand, there's another development in the next few hours which could be important; word has it that the CMS Dept. will be issuing some sort of official ACA-related press release. I have no idea what it is, although the most likely possibilities include:

  • A formal announcement about having HC.gov enrollees log into their accounts to make sure they know what their 2015 options/payments will be, as the NY Times announced yesterday
  • A formal announcement regarding the status of the "payment back end" of HC.gov (which was still under development, last I heard), or
  • Dare I Say It?? Could the HHS Dept. actually be releasing (gasp) an updated enrollment report???

OK, probably not, but on the off chance that they actually do the latter, you know where my projections stand as of the 2nd week of September:

  • Roughly 9.3 million total QHP enrollees
  • Roughly 8 million paid enrollees; and
  • Roughly 7.1 - 7.2 million currently enrolled/paying enrollees.

Anyway, whatever it is, we should know in another hour and a half or so.