New York: BREAKING: 454K QHPs*, 1.49M Medicaid (*UPDATED)

Huge enrollment news day--this is unexpected but welcome on top of the report:

Press Release: Governor Cuomo Announces NY State of Health Hits Benchmark of Two Million Enrollees

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State of Health (NYSOH) Marketplace has enrolled more than two million New Yorkers in affordable health insurance coverage. This is the latest record enrollment for New York’s health exchange, and 89 percent of enrollees have reported that they had no coverage at the time they joined the Marketplace. New Yorkers who have enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace have overwhelmingly reported that they are satisfied with their health insurance (92 percent) and are using their coverage to access care (84 percent).

Latest enrollment breakdown:

· Total cumulative enrollment: 2,004,827
· Total Medicaid enrollment: 1,491,859
· Total private coverage: 512,968

· Total new 2015 enrollment: 429,972
· Total new 2015 Medicaid enrollment: 297,423
· Total new private coverage: 132,549
· Renewal rate in private coverage: 85 percent

WOW! New York, which until yesterday seemed to be in a major slump (to the point that I actually dropped my own projection from 573K to 520K just last night) has just roared back into the game. They're now at nearly 90% of my original target and are ahead of or even with many other states.

Their own target of 720K is still almost certainly unreachable, but my (prior) target should be easily attainable (note that NY is the only state where my target is lower than the official one).

Mazel Tov to NY State of Health for coming through in the clutch!

Also, with this on top of the update from an hour earlier, total QHP selections nationally have now officially passed the 10 Million mark.

UPDATE: Thanks to IBD's Jed Graham for noting that the math above doesn't really add up on the surface:

  • NY State of Health reported 379K enrollees as of 9/15/14
  • Today's press release claims that 85% of their 2014 enrollees renewed. That would be around 322K.
  • Total private enrollment is reported as 513K, but new private enrollment is 132.5K.
  • That means that the total renewals are 380.5K...or 58.5K higher

So, assuming no clerical errors in the numbers put out today, where the heck did the other 58,000+ come from? Graham deserves credit for caatching this discrepancy.

I think I have the answer, however: New York's "Child Health Plus" program, or "CH+".

This is not to be confused with the federal "Children's Health Insurance Program" (or "CHIP"), which is generally lumped in with Medicaid.

CH+ is sort of a public/private hybrid's privately funded (via grants, I think), so it's considered "private coverage"...but the policies are also not official QHPs either, which is why the HHS reports never listed these enrollments last year.

This drove me nuts for several months in 2014, since the NY State of Health number was always around 30-40,000 higher than the monthly HHS report for the same time period. By April, the CH+ number had grown to nearly 65,000 children.

I haven't confirmed that this is what accounts for the "extra" 58K, but I'm 99% sure that's what's going on. If so, then it just means that HHS's official report will be that much lower than the NY State of Health number. It also means that NY's total as of today is only about 454.5K actual QHPs. Still impressive, but important to distinguish.

Here's an ironic twist:

  • If I'm correct about this, then it means that I was probably correct to lower my target yesterday (I dropped it from 573K to 520K...a difference of 53,000).
  • If I'm wrong about this, then I should have left my NY projection at 573K.

If I'm wrong, of course, then it means that there's a typo/math error somewhere else...

UPDATE 5:19pm: Bingo. I just confirmed with NY State of Health that yes, CH+ enrollees are included in today's 513K announcement. They didn't have the exact number, but I'm certain that it's somewhere around 58-60K. As such, I've moved 59K over to the "Off-Exchange QHP Plans" column of the spreadsheet. They don't really belong there either, but just like NY State of Health and HHS, I'm not really sure where the heck they belong.

Therefore, the official exchange QHP number for New York now stands at around 454,000.

This also explains why I was so blown away. NY only added about 83,000 new enrollees from 11/15 - 12/20...36 days which included the all-important 12/15 deadline for January coverage. It made no sense that they would have enrolled nearly 156,000 more in just 17 days (1/18 - 2/03), especially since that particular time period just happened to be the slowest patch of the open enrollment period. This suggests that the number added was only about 97K...still impressive, but much more in line with what seems reasonable.