New Hampshire: 2,100 additional QHP enrollees in March

Huh. Here's something unexpected. New Hampshire officially closed out the 2016 Open Enrollment Period with 55,183 exchange-based QHP selections.

As it happens, New Hampshire is, to my knowledge, the only state operating on the federal exchange which has a policy of publicly posting their effectuated exchange-based enrollment numbers every month throughout the year, which is a godsend to me.

Now that we're into April, I decided to take a sneak peak, and was a bit surprised at what I found:

  • January 2016 Exchange-Based QHP Enrollment: 49,937 (+33,604 PAP enrollees)
  • February 2016 Exchange-Based QHP Enrollment: 53,109 (+38,735 PAP enrollees)
  • March 2016 Exchange-Based QHP Enrollment: 55,212 (+43,732 PAP enrollees)

The "PAP" or "Premium Assistance Program" is New Hampshire's unfortunately-acronymed name for ACA Medicaid Expansion...except that it looks like NH has chosen to go the same route as Arkansas' "Private Option" starting this year:

1. What is the NHHPP Premium Assistance Program?
The New Hampshire Premium Assistance Program (PAP) is the next phase of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, which currently provides health coverage to many low-income adults in New Hampshire. Beginning in January 2016, DHHS will purchase Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) certified for sale on New Hampshire’s Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) using Medicaid funds. The QHPs will provide health insurance for the PAP eligible adults.

2. Who is eligible for the Premium Assistance Program (PAP)?
Most individuals in the “new adult group” will be eligible for the Premium Assistance Program. The “new adult group” includes all adults aged 19-64 with incomes up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) who upon application do not fall into any other Medicaid eligibility category and who do not qualify for Medicare. Adults who have access to cost-effective employer-sponsored insurance or who are medically frail will be ineligible for the Premium Assistance Program.

In any event, there's two interesting things to note about the monthly numbers above:

  • First, the February QHP number (53,109) means that a whopping 96% of New Hampshire QHP enrollees appear to have paid their monthly premium, which is the highest payment rate I've seen outside of Massachusetts (which doesn't really count since they don't even report QHP numbers until the enrollee has paid their first premium).
  • Second, their March QHP number (55,212) is 2,100 higher than February...or about 4% higher month over month.

This may not seem like much, but given that last year, effectuated enrollments dropped by about 13% in just the 5 weeks from 2/22 - 3/31, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that in New Hampshire, at least, the number has increased from 2/01 - 3/31.

This is especially surprising since, unlike Colorado, New Hampshire didn't suffer from any major carriers melting down last fall, so I don't believe they should have an unusually high number of SEP-eligible residents beyond the normal group (getting married, giving birth, etc).

Another interesting tidbit: Check out New Hampshire's SHOP enrollment to date:

  • January: 6,989 enrollees
  • February: 7,295 enrollees
  • March: 7,615 enrollees

SHOP is available for enrollment year-round, but it's still pretty impressive that a state with just 1.3 million people has over 7,600 SHOP enrollees.

Extrapolated out, that would be the equivalent of roughly 1.8 million SHOP enrollees nationally. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure total SHOP enrollment is still no more than a couple hundred thousand total.