2021 OEP Week 1 HC.gov Snapshot Report: 819K QHPs

Every Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for for the past several years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) have issued a Weekly Snapshot Enrollment Report including the top-line Qualified Health Plan (QHP) enrollment data via HealthCare.Gov for that week along with the cumulative totals. They normally post these reports, which run Sunday - Saturday, on the following Wendesday...but yesterday came and went without one being released this year.

Given the insanity surrounding last week's Presidential election (along with the results) and the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, I was beginning to wonder whether they'd bother issuing those reports at all. Fortunately, they followed through late this afternoon:

Week 1, November 1-November 7, 2020

In week one of the 2021 Open Enrollment period, 818,365 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform. As in past years, enrollment weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday. 

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 Exchange 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.

As a reminder, New Jersey and Pennsylvania transitioned to their own SBE platforms for 2021, thus they are not on the HealthCare.gov platform for 2021 coverage. Those two states accounted for 578,251 plan selections last year, accounting for 7% percent of all plan selections.  These enrollees’ selections will not appear in our figures until we announce the State-based Marketplace plan selections.

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

It's a bit tricky to compare the first weekly report against the previous year because the snapshot reports run Sunday - Saturday. Last year Nov. 1st fell on a Friday, so "Week 1" was actually only 2 days; "Week 2" included the following 7 days, for 9 days total.

Having said that, for the 2020 OEP, New Jersey and Pennsylvania combined enrolled a total of 57,341 people in 9 days out of 932,049 total via HC.gov, or 6.15% of the total (slightly lower than their overall total for the period). Without those two states, HC.gov enrolled 874,708 people in the first 9 days last year, or 97,190/day vs. 818,365 in the first 7 days this year, or 116,909/day this year, which means enrollment is actually running about 20% ahead of last year's pace so far.

Given the pandemic and the million of people who have lost their employer-based healthcare coverage this year, that makes sense...and is a relief, since there was also a concern that people would be scared off of enrolling due to the pending Supreme Court decision about the fate of the ACA itself. There was also the election this year, of course, which likely meant that enrollment the first 3 days of November was likely delayed until the 4th or 5th, making the first weekly numbers even more impressive.

It's also important to note the breakout between current enrollees actively renewing their policies and new consumers enrolling. Last year, in the first 9 days, it was a 74% / 26% split between the two. This year, for the first 7 days it's split 79/21. It's too early to say whether that means much, of course; the ratios could easily shift as we go forward.