#OE2 Day One: Over 100K Applications Submitted @ HC.gov!

There were more than a half million successful log-ins Saturday to HealthCare.Gov, 100,000+ people submitting applications.

— HealthCare.gov (@HealthCareGov) November 16, 2014

OK, I'm as geeked as any ACA supporter, but some context and clarification is important here. Last year there was a lot of confusion about the distinction between someone:

  1. creating an account
  2. submitting an application
  3. selecting/committing to a plan, and
  4. paying their first month's premium.

The 8.02 million figure through April 19th touted by the administration last spring represented 3) Selecting a plan.

Of that, the actual number who followed through and 4) paid their first premium (thus activating--or "effectuating" to use the industry lingo--their policy) ended up being roughly 88%, or around 7.1 million.

Therefore, while more than 100K people 2) submitting applications on the first day is a very good sign, that isn't the same as 100K people being added to the spreadsheet as actually enrolling, whether paid or not.

HOWEVER, here's the other good news: A single application doesn't necessarily mean a single person!

One of the other data points which confused a lot of people in the early days last fall was the distinction between "policies" (households) and "lives covered" (people). My wife and I have one child. If we submit one application, the policy that we eventually select will actually count as three people enrolled.

The average household has roughly 2.5 people. However, in the interest of caution, I've always gone with a mere 1.8x factor when using "household" data.

In other words, assuming all 100K+ of those first-day applications actually go on to select a policy, that's likely to mean 180K - 250K people...and remember, that's just from the federal exchange at Healthcare.Gov. Assuming a similar 75/25 split between HC.gov and the state exchanges, that should mean upwards of 240K - 330K potential enrollees already.

The other point of confusion is that I don't know yet whether this refers to applications from people who aren't already enrolled or if it also includes people who are part of the 7M+ already enrolled who are switching policies (or are setting up a 2nd account due to confusion or life changes--for instance, what if a couple is getting divorced? They may both be enrolled for 2014, but for 2015 one of the spouses needs to set up their own separate account/application, and so forth).

All that being said, this bodes very well for the 2015 numbers as well as being a testament to the night-and-day improvements at HC.gov (which, you'll recall, enrolled a whopping total of 6 people on Day One last year).