California: I was way off re. *new* enrollees...but not releasing *renewal* data at this point is absurd
Ouch. I was expecting CoveredCA to announce somewhere in the neighborhood of 314K new QHPs for 2015 through Sunday night (the 144K already announced, plus another 170K since 12/15). Instead, the total turned out to be just 217,146. I was way off on this figure, and I'm willing to accept that. In fact, in retrospect, I must've miscalculated something, since the odds of enrolling more new people in the 28 days following the January coverage deadline (which also included the "dead zones" of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day) than the 31 days before that deadline were almost nil.
What I don't find acceptable is that Peter Lee, after promising to release renewal data "in January" is now saying that they may not do so until February.
(Sidenote: I just checked the last press release with enrollment data (the 144K announcement) and lo and behold, instead of "in January" it reads "sometime in early 2015" which could theoretically mean as late as, what, March 31st??)
His rationale makes little sense: He went on for awhile about the fact that not everyone has paid their January premium yet (not exactly a shocker), so they're waiting until they know how many have paid and have their policies effectuate.
So yes, I certainly would love to know how many of those renewed/re-enrolled accounts have paid their premiums and are thus fully enrolled/effectuated for 2015.
HOWEVER, the number of QHP selections is the primary number that everything else depends on, and is the main benchmark which this site and most of the media is keeping an eye on.
Aside from New York (and possibly Hawaii?), every other exchange...INCLUDING Healthcare.Gov...has issued reports with total QHP selections for 2015, including both active and automatic renewals. Some of them (Massachusetts & Rhode Island, and possibly Washington State) also include payment data, which is certainly welcome; most don't. But the QHP selections is the basis for everything else.
Furthermore, by releasing the 217K new enrollment data, they're contradicting their own policy: That 217K includes people who have selected a plan whether or not they've paid up yet.
So if I'm understanding correctly, CoveredCA is OK with giving out the total plans selected for new enrollees (whether paid or not), but refuses to release the total plans selected for renewed enrollees, only paid ones because...why again??
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that they gave out the 217K figure, but it makes no sense whatsoever to refuse to release the comparable number for renewals...especially since we should be talking about up to 1 million people here.
Notice that I haven't made too big a fuss over, say, Hawaii on this point...because no offense to the state, but the renewal number there can't be more than perhap 10K at most.
CA and NY are the only other states which haven't given out renewal data yet...and they're the two largest states running their own exchange. I simply cannot think of a logical reason for why CA hasn't done so yet (and no, "the number is far short of a million" doesn't cut it...if that's the case, release the data and just deal with it).
(sigh) Anyway, here's the relevant part of the press release itself:
More than 1,099,200 people sought coverage and were determined eligible for private health insurance and eligible or likely eligible for Medi-Cal from the start of open enrollment on Nov. 15 through Jan. 11. This includes 304,394 eligibility determinations and an additional 217,146 plan selections for private coverage, as well as 466,778 enrollments into Medi-Cal coverage and 110,913 who are likely eligible for Medi-Cal. Since January 2014, Medi-Cal has enrolled more than 2.2 million consumers.
...The data Covered California released today relate to new enrollment only since open enrollment began on Nov. 15. Data about those consumers renewing their 2014 coverage will be released sometime in early 2015.