Estimate: Total QHPs Break 9.5 Million (oh, and join the mailing list!)

OK, this isn't particularly dramatic given that I've already projected the cumulative total QHP figure to hit around 9.9 million by November 15th, but it's still nice to mark the occasion of another milestone being hit. By my best estimates, assuming 9,000 people enrolling in private Qualified Health Plans via the various ACA exchanges every day during the off-season, the grand total should have hit the 9.5 million mark right around midnight last night.

Of those 9.5 million, I estimate that around 8.2 million of them have paid their first month premium already, with another 300K or so who will do so sometime this month. I further estimate that the current number enrolled (after subtracting those who have dropped their coverage after the first month) should be around 7.4 million at the moment:

In other oddball news, I should probably note that the ACASignups mailing list, which was limited to financial donors and data tipsters, has now been opened up to anyone interested in joining. Note that I don't send out mailings on a regular basis...in fact, they've been pretty rare over the summer, but I plan on ramping it up a bit once we move into the 2nd Open Enrollment Period starting in mid-November (don't worry, not too much). If you're not already on it, feel free to sign up using the little form at the top-right of the website.

UPDATE: I just wanted to give a shout-out to Xpostfactoid, who made the point (far more eloquently than I have) that while it's important to keep track of the current enrollment figures, the fact that a percentage of enrollees who paid their first premium but then dropped their policy 1, 2, 3 or more months later does not necessarily mean doom & gloom for the ACA...because you have to look at the reason why they left. Perfectly legitimate reasons to drop their coverage could include:

  • Aging into Medicare (100,000 - 200,000 fall into this category alone)
  • Getting a job with ESI (employer-sponsored insurance)
  • Falling on hard times and moving onto Medicaid (whether under the old rules or ACA expansion provision)
  • Deciding to move out of the country for whatever reason
  • Marrying someone who's already covered by a non-ACA exchange policy
  • Dying (hey, it happens to everyone)

Of the above list, every one of them is either "neutral" or a positive development...and in every one of these cases, the exchange QHP still provided them a safety net/peace of mind for at least a few months while their personal situation changed...which is exactly what insurance is about, after all.

Obviously some people drop their coverage because they can no longer afford the premiums, refuse to do so any longer, or lied about their citizenship status/etc., but my guess is that this number is very small relative to the other possibilities.