Washington State: 200,000 QHP selections thru 12/12; needs 43K in 3 days to match last year

A couple of weeks ago I reported that the Washington Health Benefit Exchange had enrolled over 196,000 people in ACA exchange policies as of November 28th, putting them about 3% ahead of last year's tally as of the same date.

Today they issued another unofficial update which pegs their total at "more than 200,000 Washingtonians" (there's no exact number provided):

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is alerting all customers today that less than 72 hours remain before the deadline to sign up in 2019 health and dental coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. Customers who have not yet selected a plan have until the close of open enrollment at 11:59 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 15 to select their coverage for next year.

More than 200,000 Washingtonians have already secured a 2019 health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder since the open enrollment period began on Nov. 1, including the nearly 10,000 individuals who selected their coverage over the past week.

Taking this literally, it suggests that the actual number of QHP selections as of 12/12 should be at least 205,816, and likely higher, since that would still be missing a full week (11/29 - 12/05). My guess would be that it's closer to 210,000 as of yesterday.

I don't have a good way of comparing year over year, since the closest hard number I have from last year (as of 12/11) only included new enrollees, not renewals, making it somewhat useless here.

In addition, there's another important factor to keep in mind: Last year, Washington State kept their Open Enrollment Period running all the way through January 15th...but this year they're wrapping things up on December 15th like most other states. This means any last-minute enrollment surge should be happening right now as opposed to in mid-January.

Therefore...there's really no way of running an honest apples-to-apples year over year comparison, since the numbers can change dramatically in the final few days of Open Enrollment.

HOWEVER, I can compare WA's current "over 200K" figure against last year's final total: 243,227 QHP selections. WA is about 43K shy of matching last year. Put another way, they've hit 82.2% of last year's total so far with the critical 3 final days left to go.

“For individuals and families who have not yet signed up in a health and dental plan for next year, this is a critical point in the open enrollment period,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “With fewer than three days left before the deadline, customers still needing to select their 2019 coverage should utilize the resources available to explore their options and connect with a plan before it’s too late.”

Expanded opportunities to access in-person help are being offered now through the Dec. 15 deadline to select a plan. Along with the 10 full-service enrollment centerslocated throughout the state, trained navigators and brokers are also staffing upcoming enrollment events held in support of the Washington Healthplanfinder’s #GetCoveredWA campaign.

Additional location and contact information for in-person assistance available during the remaining three days of open enrollment may be found using the WAPlanfinder mobile app. Other help connecting with a nearby navigator or broker may be found using the “Customer Support” tab on www.wahealthplanfinder.org.

The toll-free Customer Support Center (1-855-923-4633) is also hosting extended operating hours to provide last-minute help for individuals signing up for coverage before the deadline. The center’s updated hours of availability over the remaining three days include:

Customer Support Center (1-855-WAFINDER) Operating Hours, Dec. 13-15

  • Thursday, Dec. 13: 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 14: 7:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 15: 7:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

Most customers who have already selected their health and dental coverage for next year should now expect to receive a bill for payment of their first month’s premium. Insurance companies require that these bills be paid in order for coverage to begin. Information on submitting a premium payment is available by clicking the “Your Payment Options” button on the www.wahealthplanfinder.org homepage.