Massachusetts: @HealthConnector reports 284.6K #ACA exchange enrollees, 97% have already paid

The Massachusetts Health Connector (MA's ACA exchange) doesn't generally post official enrollment data reports via press releases, but I have a contact there who sends me their latest numbers from time to time during Open Enrollment:

Here's where we are at, currently:

  • January effectuations: 275,003
  • Feb. and March effectuations: 5
  • Plan Selections: 9,143
  • Total enrollments: 284,151

As a reminder, "effectuations" have paid the first month premium and are good to go. Plan selections still need payment to start.

Massachusetts is a bit unique among the ACA exchanges--they, along with Rhode Island, are the only ones which handle premium payments as well as policy enrollments. This means that they don't just track how many people select policies, they also know how many of those who enroll have actually paid their monthly premiums.

Long-time readers may recall that throughout the first Open Enrollment Period, especially towards the tail end of it in February/March 2014, "BUT HOW MANY HAVE PAID???" was one of the biggest talking points used by Republicans to attack the ACA. They heavily pushed the narrative that ACA enrollment was being massively exaggerated by the Obama Administration since selecting a policy via an ACA exchange is not the same thing as actually being enrolled in the policy itself--you have to actually pay your first monthly premium in order to have your enrollment "effectuated"

In fact, the GOP-controlled House Energy & Commerce Committee was so obsessed with this idea that they sent out and later published an incredibly flawed survey of health insurance carriers which claimed that only 2/3 of ACA enrollees ever got around to paying up. It was so flawed, in fact, that I posted not just one, but two lengthy blog posts delving into everything wrong with their "survey" and "conclusions".

The reality, as I showed repeatedly, is that the actual portion of enrollees who paid for at least the first month was more like 85% or higher the first year, and as the process became more streamlined and people became more familiar with how the ACA exchanges worked over time, it increased to more like 90% on average.

That "on average" is important to note...because in Massachusetts, at least, it's considerably higher: Nearly 97% of the 284,000 Baystaters who have signed up (or renewed) so far have already paid their January premiums.

Last year MA ended up with nearly 320,000 people selecting Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) via their exchange, but keep in mind that MA Open Enrollment not only continues longer than the federal 12/15 deadline, but that residents have until 12/23 to enroll for January coverage and until 1/23 to enroll for February. They're already 89% of the way towards breaking their 2020 record with plenty of time left to go for the other 11%.