HealthSherpa enrolls 330K in 1st week of 2022 Open Enrollment; suggests 1.16 million total via

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DISCLAIMER: HealthSherpa is one of two Enhanced Direct Enrollment (EDE) ACA brokers which run banner ads on my site. EDEs are basically authorized private, 3rd-party versions of ACA exchange sites which have their back ends integrated directly into the federal exchange (HealthCare.Gov) (W3LL is the other EDE which advertises here).

Having said that, I believe Sherpa is the largest ACA EDE out there, and they're pretty transparent about their enrollment metrics, so until CMS posts their official Weekly Snapshot Enrollment Report (which should happen sometime today or tomorrow), Sherpa's updates are pretty good indicators of how things are going overall.

Here's what they said last year two weeks into Open Enrollment:

The first two weeks of Open Enrollment are behind us, and HealthSherpa has already helped nearly half a million people enroll in quality, affordable ACA Marketplace plans. Based on the first week’s data on enrollment as a whole, we currently account for about 1 in 4 of all applications going through the federal platform.

With millions losing their jobs and health coverage due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Open Enrollment is even more important than usual, and demand for coverage has remained strong. Even better, more than 95% of enrollees have qualified for a subsidy, and most have found very affordable coverage, with a median net premium of $51/month. So far, we’ve helped consumers access over $2.5 billion in subsidies for 2021...

Key Enrollment Metrics, Nov 1st – 14th

  • HealthSherpa policies: 315,058 (up 88% from 167,929 in 2019)
  • HealthSherpa lives: 459,985 (up 88% from 245,176 in 2019)

There were 1.62 million Qualified Health Plan (QHP) selections via HealthCare.Gov in the first two weeks last year, so Sherpa actually enrolled 28.4% of the total.

Now let's look at their blog post yesterday, covering the first week of the 2021 Open Enrollment Period:

The first week of the annual Marketplace Open Enrollment Period is behind us, and we’ve already helped more than 300,000 people enroll through HealthSherpa. Even more exciting, the American Rescue Plan subsidy expansions continue to impact net premiums – most have found a plan for less than $20/month, with 29% finding coverage with no premium at all.

Key Enrollment Metrics, 11/1/2021 – 11/7/2021

  • HealthSherpa policies: 228,989
  • HealthSherpa lives: 329,935
  • Top States: FL, TX, GA, NC, SC
  • Percentage claiming a subsidy: 97%
  • Median Gross Premium: $758.86
  • Median Net Premium: $17.57
  • Median Subsidy: $679
  • Percent enrolled in $0 plans: 29.6%

As an aside: Those impressive subsidy/premium numbers are thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

  • Metal tier breakdown:
    • Platinum <1%
    • Gold 3.6%
    • Silver 70 %
    • Bronze 1.7%
    • Expanded Bronze 24.2%
    • Catastrophic <1%
  • Average Applicants Per Policy: 1.4
  • Sex of primary applicant: 55% female, 45% male
  • Median age: 47
  • Primary applicant age distribution:
    • 3% under 21
    • 14% 21-29
    • 17% 30-39
    • 22% 40-49
    • 29% 50-59
    • 15% 60+

Obviously their market share of total federal exchange enrollment could be higher or lower this year than last, but assuming it's identical, that suggests that around 1.16 million Americans have enrolled in ACA plans across the 33 states which utilize HealthCare.Gov in the first week.

For comparison, last year 819,000 people enrolled across the 36 states hosted by HealthCare.Gov in the first week, so 1.16 million would be a whopping 42% increase year over year.

In fact, it would be even more impressive than that since three more states switched from to their own ACA exchanges this year (Kentucky, Maine and New Mexico), which made up a bit over 2% of all QHP selections combined last year. If you assume a similar proportion this year, 1.16 million would represent nearly a 45% increase in the first week.

I should also note that I don't believe Sherpa (or W3LL) operate in any of the 18 states which run their own ACA exchanges, and some of those states (especially California, the largest state-based ACA exchange in the country) front-load their autorenewed enrollees anyway, so you can't really try to extrapolate to include them when looking at federal exchange data only on a weekly basis.