HC.gov releases Week 6 Open Enrollment Report: Still down 11.7% year over year

Week 6 via CMS:

Week 6, Dec 2-8, 2018

In week six of the 2019 Open Enrollment, 934,269 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform. As in past years, enrollment weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday.  Consequently, the cumulative totals reported in this snapshot reflect one fewer day than last year.

Every week during Open Enrollment, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will release enrollment snapshots for the HealthCare.gov platform, which is used by the Federally-facilitated Exchanges and some State-based Exchanges. These snapshots provide point-in-time estimates of weekly plan selections, call center activity, and visits to HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov.

The final number of plan selections associated with enrollment activity during a reporting period may change due to plan modifications or cancellations. In addition, the weekly snapshot only reports new plan selections and active plan renewals and does not report the number of consumers who have paid premiums to effectuate their enrollment.

Definitions and details on the data are included in the glossary.

Here's the 2019 Week 6 summary vs. the 2018 Week 6 summary. Not good...in fact, things dropped off more year over year (down 13% in Week 6, for an overall 11.7% shortfall so far:

I'm not bothering adjusting for the one missing day anymore; it's likely less than 1% of the total enrollment at this point.

On a per-week basis, enrollments this year are:

  • down 20% in Week One (3 days vs. 4)
  • down 8% in Week Two
  • down 6.3% in Week Three
  • down 0.8% in Week Four
  • down 6.0% in Week Five
  • down 13% in Week Six

Keep in mind that I'm actually expecting HC.gov enrollment to drop around 5.3% year over year due to a combination of sabotage factors (around 460,000 people), as well as one positive development (Medicaid expansion in Virginia will likely siphon off around 85,000 exchange enrollees, plus up to 15,000 or so in Maine), while I only expect the 12 state-based exchanges to drop by around 2.3% (110,000 people).

So far, the limited data I have for state-based exchanges suggests that most are running ahead of last year, or at least holding steady, however.

The table below shows the cumulative state-by-state numbers through 12/08/18 and last year's numbers through 12/09/17. Again, there's a nominal adjustment to me made to account for the 1-day difference, but that'll be cleared up next week anyway:

As you can see, Virginia continues to show the most dramatic drop-off; most of this is due to them expanding Medicaid. Florida, Hawaii and Mississippi continue to perform the best relative to last year, down only 2.2 - 2.9% each.

Missouri, Louisiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maine and New Hampshire all continue to lag over 20% behind last year. Maine is partly explained by their anticipated Medicaid expansion as well, but I have no explanation for why the others are doing so poorly.

New Jersey continues to run in the middle of the pack...they're down 14.9% year over year despite their best efforts. I continue to suspect that the problem with them reinstating the individual mandate is that PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THEY DID SO. Again: The financial penalty for people enrolling (or not enrolling) for 2019 won't actually be charged until spring 2020. If no one knows about it, it won't boost enrollment. On the other hand, the impact of eliminating the penalty in nearly every other state is having a pretty obvious effect...as predicted.

Here's what The Graph looks like as of today: