MAJOR UPDATE: New York: Over 140K QHPs + 700K BHPs in first 4 weeks

Nothing official yet, but New York-based Politico healthcare reporter Dan Goldberg just tweeted this out:

@charles_gaba new ny numbers out. 46,000 new enrollees. 13 percent ahead of last year’s pace. 31,500 in essential plan. Numbers through end of November

— Dan Goldberg (@DanCGoldberg) November 30, 2017

Unfortunately, a lot of the state-based exchanges have an annoying habit of not posting renewal numbers until after the enrollment period is over (including the biggest one, California), but this is still helpful. Also handy to have the early BHP enrollment numbers.

UPDATE: Whoops...the official NY State of Health press release is out, and it looks like I misunderstood Goldberg's tweet; it's 46,000 new enrollees total including QHPs and BHPs combined:

Press Release: NY State of Health Releases First Month Snapshot of 2018 Open Enrollment
Nov 30, 2017

  • Qualified Health Plan Enrollment Outpacing Last Year
  • Over 45,000 Consumers Newly Enroll in a Qualified Health Plan and the Essential Plan in First Month
  • New York’s Uninsured Rate Drops to 4.7 Percent in 2017 - Lowest to Date
  • Website and Call Center Activity High

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 30, 2017) - NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace, today announced that more than 45,800 new enrollees already have enrolled in coverage in the first four weeks of the 2018 open enrollment which started on November 1. This includes nearly 14,500 consumers who have enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) and 31,350 who have enrolled in the Essential Plan for lower income New Yorkers.

Also, I stand corrected: New York is releasing the total enrollment numbers to date including renewals, which is awesome:

In the first four weeks of the 2018 open enrollment period, enrollment is outpacing last year by about 13 percent. More than 140,000 consumers have already renewed coverage or newly enrolled in a QHP for 2018 and Essential Plan enrollment has reached nearly 700,000. Open Enrollment in a QHP continues through January 31, 2018. Consumers must enroll by December 15, 2017 for coverage beginning January 1, 2018. Enrollment in the Essential Plan is open all year.

The "outpacing by 13%" statement sounds great (especially since this includes renewals), but the way it's worded makes it sound like that 13% might include BHPs. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but BHPs aren't counted as QHPs for official "ACA enrollment" purposes for whatever reason (BHPs are treated with limbo status between Medicaid and QHPs by most media outlets if they're mentioned at all...)

One other important related BHP data point: Last year New York enrolled 665,318 people in the Essential Plan (their name for the BHP program) over the entire open enrollment period. If they're already at 700,000, that means their BHP enrollment is already over 5% ahead of last year in just the first 4 weeks.

This is great news, but also makes me very cautious about jumping on that "13% ahead" statement. If it's only referring to the 140,000 QHPs as of 11/28, fine; but if it's lumping together QHPs + BHPs, that could potentially mean that QHP enrollment is actually lower year over year as of the same date. I'll update this if I receive clarification.

UPDATE: D'oh! I forgot that I do have a way of telling: According to the 2017 Public Use File, New York enrolled 123,803 people in QHPs between 11/01 - 11/26 last year. 140K is indeed just over 13% higher than that (although "the first four weeks" certainly suggests 2 extra days this year, which would make it more like 5% higher assuming an even 5,000/day this year).

UDPATE x3: Something else just occurred to me: New York is one of only three exchanges (including California and DC) which are keeping their enrollment period at the full 3 months as the past few years (ending January 31st). That means the enrollment numbers for CA/DC/NY should be a pretty good apples-to-apples comparison of how much other factors besides the half-length period are impacting enrollment this year. I don't have any data from DC yet, and CA has only released new enrollee data, not renewals, so that leaves NY as the only "pure" comparison so far.

“NY State of Health is off to a busy start. New consumers are enrolling at a rapid pace and we are in the process of renewing 400,000 households into coverage,” said NY State of Health Executive Director Donna Frescatore. “NY State of Health has a lot of offer: choice of health plans in every county and costs that are the same or lower than 2017.”

Since the start of Open Enrollment, the NY State of Health Customer Service Center has answered more than 519,000 calls. The NY State of Health website has also experienced high traffic with over 31 million website page views and more than 650,000 unique visitors. These website volumes are higher than the same point last year.

More than 4 million -- more than 1 in 5 New Yorkers -- have enrolled in quality, affordable health insurance coverage through NY State of Health. New York has seen a corresponding drop in its uninsured rate. According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in early November, New York’s uninsured rate has reached a new low of 4.7 percent compared to 10 percent in 2013 when NY State of Health opened.

Most individuals who buy coverage through the NY State of Health receive financial assistance. Many individuals who qualify for federal tax credits to purchase a QHP will see premiums for comparable coverage decrease in 2018. On average, consumers who select the most popular silver level plan will see their premium decrease by five percent. After tax credits, individuals making $25,000 a year can enroll in Bronze level coverage in a QHP for free in 43 counties of the state. Essential Plan coverage costs $20 or nothing for eligible New Yorkers.