Minnesota: 54.6K QHPs thru 12/15 deadline; 14K MinnesotaCare, 43.3K Medicaid

This Just In...(Minnesota was one of the few states which stuck with the original 12/15 deadline for January coverage):

ST. PAUL, Minn.— MNsure has enrolled 54,586 Minnesotans in private health care coverage, far outpacing the approximately 27,000 who had enrolled at a similar stage of open enrollment last year.

Additionally, since the start of open enrollment, 14,020 Minnesotans have eligibility determinations in MinnesotaCare and 43,327 in Medical Assistance.

The 2015-2016 open enrollment period set a record for the most Minnesotans enrolled in private health plans, but the 2016-2017 period has been even more brisk. By December 28, 2015, the deadline for January 1 enrollment last year, about 27,000 had enrolled, meaning enrollment numbers are twice what they were at the same time last year.

"MNsure is helping Minnesotans protect themselves at a record-setting pace," said MNsure CEO Allison O'Toole. "Minnesotans are protecting themselves and their families, tapping into financial help, and avoiding the federal tax penalty."

Of the 61 percent of private health plan enrollees who are eligible for tax credits, the average monthly tax credit is approximately $634.82, which is about three times higher than it was in 2016. 

"Right now, we have more than 100,000 applications open and in progress at MNsure.org," said O'Toole. "I encourage those who have started applications to come back, complete an application, and see what they are eligible for."

With increased traffic as the deadline for January 1 coverage approached, the average call wait time from Sunday, December 11, to Thursday, December 15, was a little over 6 minutes. This average includes a 7-minute wait time on Wednesday and 20-minute wait time on the deadline day. Wait times today are approximately 4 seconds. 

Minnesotans still have until January 31, 2017, to secure health care coverage for 2017. Those who enroll by January 15, 2017, will have coverage that starts February 1, 2017, and those who enroll by January 31, 2017, will have coverage that starts March 1, 2017. It is important to note that consumers must pay their first month's premium on time for their coverage to start on those dates. 

While MNsure's numbers are quite impressive so far, the truth is that much of this is likely due to the state having a unique "first come, first served" enrollment cap policy for most of the carriers on the individual market. This has presumably led to even more of a "sign up early!" scramble. It's therefore entirely possible that things will flatline going forward. On the other hand, perhaps not; we'll just have to see.

Last year's final exchange QHP tally for MNsure was 83,507 people; I'm personally targeting 86,000 for them this year. Today's numbers bring them up to 63.5% of that goal, or 65.4% of last year's tally.