Holy Smokes! HC.Gov extends January deadline by 2 days to 12/17!!

This Just In...

“Because of the unprecedented demand and volume of consumers contacting our call center or visiting HealthCare.gov, we are extending the deadline to sign-up for January 1 coverage until 11:59pm PST December 17. Hundreds of thousands have already selected plans over the last two days and approximately 1 million consumers have left their contact information to hold their place in line. Our goal is to provide access to affordable coverage, and the additional 48 hours will give consumers an opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage. ”

--Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces

Welp, you can probably throw The Graph out the window now, at least in terms of the "spike" hitting right around now. My model was based on the assumption that yes, there'd be a huge spike yesterday and today, followed by perhaps 3 million auto-renewals being tacked on all at once tomorrow/Thursday.

Of course, it's possible that this will be what happens, just with active re-enrollments mostly replacing the automatic renewals, in which case my estimate of roughly 11.3 million total (national) QHP selections as of 12/17 could still end up being about right.

However, it's also just as likely that a large chunk (50%+?) of the "surge" enrollments are brand-new additions, in which case the 12/17 national total could end up being several hundred thousand higher still.

Anyway, this was actually unexpected, even by me. I knew that some of the state exchanges were bumping out their deadlines, but I honestly didn't think HC.gov would do so this time around.

Ironically, it's possible today's grand total could end up coming in lower than the 600K I've been speculating about since yesterday, simply due to the HC.gov server not being able to handle that much capacity at once. Furthermore, this evening's announcement could potentially cause that load to ease up a bit, spreading the numbers out tomorrow and Thursday.

So, how many more will be tacked on over the next two days? Well, according to the release, "1 million people left their contact info", so that's a pretty good start. Of course, many of those 1 million people presumably represent 2-3 people in a household, so you could be talking about as many as 2.5 million (?) people desperately trying to beat the deadline? Obviously not all of them will end up actually signing up, but even so, I could see a good 1.5 - 2 million people out of the deal (???)