HEY DATA GEEKS: CMS releases 2016 Enrollment Data by COUNTY!

OK, this is a nice early Christmas present to data geeks like myself (which is ironic, considering that I'm Jewish). Shortly after releasing the 2016 First Quarter Effectuated Enrollment Report, the CMS division of the HHS Dept. has released that data in Excel spreadsheet format...along with the previous 6 quarterly reports. This is nice, but not that huge since this data was already available.

What is brand new, however, is the other data that they released today:

2016 Marketplace Health Plan Selections by County

The Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA), within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has prepared public data sets with the total number of health plan selections by county for the 38 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform, including the Federally-facilitated Marketplace, State Partnership Marketplaces, and supported State-based Marketplaces. These tables include county-level plan selection information by age, race/ethnicity, Federal Poverty Level (FPL), consumer type, metal level, Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR), and Applied Premium Tax Credit (APTC).

The data are available in two formats: (1) a downloadable Excel file and (2) an online interactive dataset that allows users to sort and filter data directly without downloading. A complete description of the methodology used to create these tables can be found in the Methodological Overview paper, also included in the Downloads below.

The 2015 file (data for the 2015 Open Enrollment Period) can be found on the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) website, through the related link below. The data can also be found on Data.CMS.Gov.

It's important to note two key factors here: First, the county-level data is only available for the 38 HealthCare.Gov states, not the 13 state-based exchanges (although some of those have already released enrollment data by county). Second, unlike the Q1 report, the county-level data refers to how many people selected QHPs by the end of Open Enrollment by the end of January, NOT how many were actually enrolled in effectuated policies as of 2 months later. The Q1 effectuation number had dropped by about 12.6% nationally, though this varied widely by state.

Still, this is extremely handy info. In addition to the total numbers, they've also broken out county-level data by APTC, CSR, Metal Level, Income, Ethnicity, Age Group and Enrollee Type (that is, New, Autorenewed, Actively Renewed).

For instance, here's the stats for Oakland County, Michigan:

Total Plan Selections: 54,175


  • Receiving APTC: 41,221 (76%)
  • Receiving CSR: 27,292 (50%)


  • Catastrophic: 741 (1.4%)
  • Bronze: 11,446 (21.1%)
  • Silver: 36,373 (67.1%)
  • Gold: 4,630 (8.5%)
  • Platinum: 985 (1.8%)


  • New Enrollees: 18,401 (34%)
  • Active Renewals: 21,648 (40%)
  • Auto-Renewals: 14,126 (26%)

INCOME LEVEL (woo-hoo! they've started breaking this out at the 138% FPL line!)

  • <100% FPL: 843 (1.6%)
  • 100-138% FPL: 3,611 (6.7%)
  • 138-150% FPL: 6,835 (12.6%)
  • 150-200% FPL: 13,672 (25.2%)
  • 200-250% FPL: 9,844 (18.2%)
  • 250-300% FPL: 5,383 (10.0%)
  • 300-400% FPL: 5,099 (9.4%)
  • Unknown Income: 6,892 (12.7%)

I'm quite certain that the 100-138% category is brand new this year...which is important due to the overlap between those who qualify for APTC assistance (100-400% FPL) and those who qualify for Medicaid expansion in participating states (0-138% FPL). Until now, folks like Andrew Sprung and myself had to guess at how many QHP enrollees might potentially be eligible for Medicaid if/when the non-expansion states finally cave; now we know the actual number (which I'll address in a separate entry).

ETHNICITY (is "multiracial" a new category, or has the federal government been using this for awhile now?)

  • Native American/Alaskan: 78 (0.1%)
  • Asian: 3,186 (5.9%)
  • Black: 2,687 (5.0%)
  • Latino: 733 (1.4%)
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 12 (0%)
  • Multiracial: 429 (0.8%)
  • White: 22,348 (41.3%)
  • Unknown: 24,702 (45.6%)


  • 0-17: 6,896 (12.7%)
  • 18-25: 5,406 (10.0%)
  • 26-35: 9,479 (17.5%)
  • 35-44: 7,960 (14.7%)
  • 45-54: 10,792 (19.9%)
  • 55-64: 13,277 (24.5%)
  • 65+: n/a
  • Unknown: n/a