CMS Conference Call: Liveblog!

The CMS Dept. is holding a conference call with reporters right now. I'll be liveblogging the call and posting updates as quickly as I can for any useful info. It should focus much on the enrollment numbers, of course, but also how well the servers held up under yesterday's strain, and I'd expect a lot of discussion of the "autorenewal" issue--how many, how it'll be handled and so forth.

Participants: Lori Lodes, Kevin Counihan & Andy Slavitt

3:04pm: Call hasn't started yet, but HHS just releaced their 4th week enrollment data for (thru 12/12)...and it's actually 5.4% higher than I thought! (thanks to Bob Herman for the tip!)

  • My estimate: 2.32 million
  • Actual: 2,446,562
  • still 52% renewals / 48% new

Call starting:

  • first 8 hours: 20K applications
  • last 3 days: more than 3 million unique site visitors
  • As of Friday midnight: 2.467M plans selected

RENEWALS: (Andy Slavitt)

  • 90-day renewal process: 
  • First 30 days: Manual renewals/updates/re-enrollments
  • Over next few days, autorenewal group will receive notifications regarding autorenewals, given option to come back in and shop around/etc.
  • So far, over 4 million calls to call center (30 days); 1.6 million over past 3 days alone; everything has run pretty smoothly
  • 500K people left names towards end of yesterday re callbacks for January 1st coverage!
  • No capacity restraints yesterday
  • 125K concurrent users at peak yesterday
  • "waiting room" average wait time was only 3 minutes or so yesterday before getting in
  • AUTORENEWAL policies:
  • Pilot program to test it out
  • Contacting issuers (insurance co's) to get them all info necessary re. autorenewals


  • "Switchers" (switching from one insurance co. to another)
  • "missing plan information" (outreach campaign to help them get a different plan)
  • pilot program for autorenewals: 1) make sure the architecture works; 2) make sure the 834 file transfer process works with insurance companies; it went quite well


  • Q: how many were impacted yesterday by not being able to get through?
  • A: Call center "several hundred thousand people" (500K above??) being called back today/next few days
  • Over 1 million calls yesterday alone
  • Q: Elaborate on "cross walking" system for discontinued plans
  • A: Less than 5% impacted; if issuer has dropped plan or dropped off exchange completely, 1st replacement would be closest equivalent plan offered by same issuer in same metal level
  • If enrollee wants to switch to a different plan they can do so but the different plan won't kick in until Feb. 1st
  • Algorythm which will switch them to the closest plan available
  • If not available, they'll contact enrollee directly (repeatedly) to discuss options
  • Q: Sarah Kliff: State-based exchanges (stole my question)!
  • A: Nope.
  • Q: Tami Luhby: Out of 6.7M, how many on
  • A: Breakout will be included in monthly report
  • NEXT WEEK will include ALL reenrollment data
  • Q: Any info on "switchers"?
  • A: (missed answer, sorry)
  • Q: State-by-state breakouts??
  • A: ASPE report will be out soon
  • Q: Permanent residents/(citizenship/immigration/legal eligibility issues) receiving faulty information re eligibility?
  • A: Need more info; call centers given very specific accurate data for talking to people.
  • Q: Dan Mangan: What hasn't gone well?
  • A: (missed answer)
  • Q: Call center: 1M calls, 500K callbacks? 40 min etc on hold?
  • A: 500K was over full weekend (out of 1.6M total calls); those 500K were at least able to get thru & leave contact info/etc, WILL receive callbacks
  • Q: Even with all the outreach, what about the people who still have no clue & will freak out in January at rate increases/etc?
  • A: Still have until 2/15 to make changes/switches/drop coverage
  • Q: Verification system for income / immigration / legal status working?
  • A: yup.
  • Q: Further bumps/issues with autorenewals?
  • A: yep, but we're prepared.
  • Q: Special Enrollment Period (those who's autorenewal is glitchy/etc) numbers?
  • A: Small number but don't have exact (makes since since it's just being started now)
  • Q: What % of current have manually renewed thru yesterday?
  • MY answer: 1.27M of enrollees have manually renewed thru 12/12 (out of...perhaps 5M or so via 


(sigh) dammit, I didn't get to ask a question again...although Sarah Kliff kind of stole my original one...