California: 1.2M QHP renewals, 139k new additions = 1.34M total

Covered California, the largest state-based ACA exchange (making up over 12% of national exchange QHP enrollments) has only posted one enrollment report so far this period. At the time, they reported 308,000 QHP selections, of which 263,462 were active renewals by existing enrollees and 44,885 were new enrollees signing up. This was as of November 15th...15 days into the enrollment period.

On the one hand, only 14.5% of these are new, which is disturbingly low. On the other hand, part of the reason for this is because so many current enrollees actively renewed...helped, no doubt, by CoveredCA's new policy which allowed them to do so an entire month early (starting on October 1st).

Just moments ago, CoveredCA issued new enrollment data:

Covered California Enrollment Surging as Critical Deadline for Coverage Approaches

  • Consumers must enroll by Dec. 15 to have coverage starting Jan. 1.
  • More than 139,000 new consumers have selected a plan during the current open-enrollment period.
  • 1.2 million current consumers have had their plans renewed for 2017.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With a key deadline coming up this week, Covered California released new data on the number of people who have signed up for coverage during the current open-enrollment period, and the number of existing consumers who have had their coverage renewed for 2017.

On Monday, Dec. 12, more than 11,000 new consumers signed up for health insurance coverage through or a certified enroller, bringing this year’s total to more than 139,000 new enrollees so far. Signing up soon is key because consumers must enroll by midnight on Thursday, Dec. 15 in order to have their health care coverage begin on Jan. 1, 2017.

“Covered California is open for business and consumers have two more days to get in and get the protection they deserve starting on January first,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “Getting covered is the best plan, and we stand ready to help consumers understand their options and determine whether they qualify for financial assistance to help pay for their coverage.”

In addition to alerting consumers about the upcoming Dec. 15 deadline, Covered California also announced that more than 1.2 million of its existing consumers have had their coverage renewed for 2017.

“Coverage matters, and we have a competitive market that is working for millions of Californians and bringing health care within reach,” Lee said. “Not only can our consumers see the best doctors and hospitals in the state, our patient-centered benefits are giving them access to care without being subject to a deductible.”

Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2017. Consumers who enroll after the Dec. 15 deadline will have their coverage start on either Feb. 1 or March 1. Consumers interested in learning more about enrolling should go to or call (800) 300-1506.

It looks like CoveredCA has decided to follow the lead of several other state exchanges and "pre-report" all renewals, both active and passive, into their latest report. That's a grand total of 1,339,000 QHP selections for 2017 to date.

On the one hand, that sounds like a huge number. On the other, let's see how it compares to last year:

  • Last year, CoveredCA reported 197,000 new enrollees as of the 12/15 deadline, with 55,000 signing up in the last 2 days alone.
  • The December ASPE report stated CoveredCA's total as 1,411,664 as of 12/27, of which 84%, or around 1,186,000, were renewals (either active or passive).

This suggests around 1,383,000 QHPs as of 12/15/15. Subtract 55,000 and you have 1,328,000 as of 12/13/15.

This year they're slightly ahead of that one day earlier (by about 11,000 enrollees). Since they enrolled 11,000 yesterday, and enrollments tend to ramp up dramatically each of the final few days before the December deadline, I'd imagine CoveredCA is gonna add, say, 15K today, 20K tomorrow and 25K Thursday, bringing them up to around the 1.4 million mark by the deadline...or around 1.2% ahead of last year.

This would actually be about 70,000 people behind my 12/15 projection for California; I'm projecting 1.725 million for the state, and would expect them to have hit around 85% of that (1.47 million) by Thursday to be in that zone. Put another way, a 1.2% increase would only bring them up to around 1.6 million, or 125K shy of where I was figuring. The good news is that I've been informed that while "most" current enrollee renewals are part of that 1.2 million figure, not all of them are. CoveredCA supposedly has around 1.3 million current enrollees, so there could be up to 100,000 more who will still be tacked on. I presume these people have special situations which need to be worked out.

Still, that's all speculative; for the moment, I can confirm 1,339,000 QHPs for California and add it to the total.