Washington State: @WAPlanFinder #COVID19 Enrollment Period going on NOW; 1,700 more have enrolled so far

Aside from Health Sherpa's announcement the other day that they enrolled over 3x as many people in ACA exchange plans in the first week of the COVID Special Enrollment Period than they normally would via traditional SEPs during the same time period, there's been no hard COVID SEP data released...until now. Via the Washington HealthPlan Finder:

Special Enrollment Period for Health Coverage Now Available

  • Currently uninsured or those seeking new coverage can enroll today on Washington HealthplanfinderOLYMPIA, Wash.

Washington Healthplanfinder is now offering a special enrollment period for Washingtonians who are currently uninsured or seeking new coverage. This special enrollment period, in response to the current public health emergency, opened Feb. 15 and runs for 90 days, ending May 15, 2021.

“Getting health insurance during the pandemic not only protects you, but also those around you,” said Chief Executive Officer Pam MacEwan. “People should take advantage of this opportunity to sign up for health coverage and help is available for those who need it.”

1,700 Washingtonians have signed up since the new special enrollment period started on Feb 15., which aligns with the reopening of the federal health insurance marketplace. Those currently uninsured, seeking coverage, or enrolled in off-Exchange health insurance (such as short-term limited duration plans or COBRA) can enroll, as well as those with non-insurance coverage through health sharing ministries. Current Washington Healthplanfinder enrollees will not be eligible for this special enrollment.

Enrollment is offered year-round for individuals and families who qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid).

Customers seeking coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder can contact an Exchange certified Broker, Navigator, enrollment center or the Customer Support Center between 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 855-627-9604 to initiate coverage. Free help from local experts is accessible by visiting here.

Individuals who qualify have 60 days to select a plan. Those who select coverage by the 15th of the month will begin receiving coverage the first of the following month. Coverage available includes Cascade Care plans, which offer deductibles that are on average $1,000 less than other plans, and cover more services prior to meeting a deductible, including primary care visits, mental health services, and generic drugs.

Hmmm...this was actually posted yesterday, so I assume that 1,700 figure covers 2/15 - 2/23, or 9 days. Washington enrolled 210,000 people as of 12/15/20 and 222,000 by the end of their own OEP deadline on 1/15.

1,700 = between 0.76% - 0.8% of that; a simple extrapolation of that it would translate into between 92,000 - 97,000 enrollees nationally in the first 9 days, considerably lower than the 160K - 250K in 7 day spitball range based on Health Sherpa's data. If that pace were to hold for the full 93-day COVID SEP (2/15 - 5/15) and was representative nationally, that would translate into around 980,000 additional enrollees across the country during that period, vs. around 700,000 who you'd normally expect to enroll via SEPs.

Hopefully we'll see which is closer to the truth soon...