So, how did the "troubled" exchanges do this year?
This isn't an exact apples-to-apples comparison, since the Massachusetts number includes the "overtime" extension period while the other 5 states only run through 2/15/15, but I thought it would be useful to see how the 6 exchanges which had widespread technical issues last year fared this time around. Obviously other states like Washington and California had some snafus, but these are the ones which were seriously hosed last year to the point of requiring massive overhauls or which were completely scrapped in favor of a new platform (I'm not including HC.gov itself here since everyone already knows what massive technical improvements they've made).
The chart below refers specifically to QHP selections only (whether paid or not), and compares the 2015 open enrollment period (11/15/14 - 2/15/15...or 2/26 in the case of MA) against the 2014 open enrollment period (10/1/13 - 4/19/14). I've also included some notes for context.
Obviously in terms of sheer number improvement, MA was leaps & bounds ahead of everyone, but they also had a very specific technical problem which artificially lowered their numbers last year even more than the other “troubled” exchanges, making this year’s success even more dramatic in comparison.
So, kudos to Massachusetts, Hawaii and Maryland for crushing 2014's numbers. Oregon and Nevada's decision to dump their exchanges and move to Healthcare.Gov seems to have worked out pretty well (assuming, of course, that the Supreme Court doesn't kill off federal exchange tax credits along with lumping OR & NV in with the other 35 states, that is). Minnesota managed a 21% bump, which actually isn't too bad considering that PreferredOne pulled out of the market last year.
The one that surprises me the most is Vermont…but then again, they only had around 45,000 uninsured residents to begin with. Still, the irony of the state pushing hardest for Single Payer/etc being the one to do the worst relative to last year isn’t lost on me (the only other state not to equal 2014’s number was Washington State, and they might nudge over the top when the extension period is thrown in…VT is highly unlikely to have racked up another 6,500 in the past week or so, however).