Happy 12th Birthday #ACA: CMS releases final 2022 OEP report (part 3)
As I just noted, today marks the 12th Anniversary of President Obama signing the ACA into law. To mark the occasion, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the final, official 2022 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) report, which I'll be breaking into several entries.
In this entry, I'm looking at the weekly Qualified Health Plan (QHP) selections by state and nationally. This first table shows the cumulative numbers for every week of OEP 2022. The final column includes additional enrollments after 1/15/22 in the states which had later deadlines, as well as some oddball clerical data corrections:
It's worth noting that the negative number in California's "cleanup" column doesn't mean that no one enrolled after 1/15/22; it just means that the net change was negative. It's possible that, say, 20,000 more people enrolled but 24,000 were deleted for various reasons (failure to pay their first premium; legal residency issues; etc) for a net drop of ~4,000. Here's what the numbers look like for each week by itself:
Some obvious patterns happen every year during Open Enrollment: There's always an enrollment drop-off during Thanksgiving weekend, followed by enrollment ramping up as the initial mid-December deadline approaches (Week 7).
The Week 7 spike is always even more massive because that's also the point when auto-renewals are generally entered into the official database (some state-based exchanges actually "front-load" all of their current enrollees as "auto-renewals" in the very first week and then subtract from that number as their existing enrollees either actively renew or cancel their policies, but CMS appears to load them all into its system in one shot, right after the December 15th deadline passes.
For the prior four years, December 15th was the final deadline for most states, but starting with OEP 2022, the Biden Administration has gone (partly) back to the Obama Admin policy of letting people enroll later; January 15th is the new official, final OEP deadline.
As you can see below, that extended deadline doesn't result in a huge number of extra enrollments--95% of all OEP 2022 enrollees nationally had been accounted for prior to December 15th--but that's still over 713,000 more people who were able to get covered. The other major benefit of the extended deadline is that it gives the millions of people who auto-renewed (over 4.7 million of them) a second chance to switch to a different policy starting in February if it turns out they made a mistake by keeping their 2021 plan after all: