New Mexico: @NMHIX announces 44.9K QHP enrollees via nifty new enrollment data portal, up 10% y/y...for now

BeWell NM

BeWell NM, New Mexico's state-based ACA exchange, has launched a very handy new Enrollment Data portal which includes plenty of info for a data hound like myself to pore over. The initial 2024 Open Enrollment Period numbers are impressive...but also a bit misleading if you don't know how the exchange enters data.

First, the top line numbers (as of 11/15/23):

  • Number of enrolled consumers: 45,496
  • Consumers enrolled in Medical coverage: 44,917
  • Consumers enrolled in Dental coverage: 10,759

While dental coverage is also important, standalone dental plans aren't considered Qualified Health Plans (QHPs); it's the "Medical Coverage" which is the key number here.

Also, the total number above may look confusing, but most of the Medical & Dental coverage enrollees overlap:

  • Medical Only: 37,737
  • Dental Only: 579
  • Medical + Dental: 10,180

On the surface, that 44.9K figure may look pretty staggering; after all, last year New Mexico only enrolled about 6,000 people in the first 2 weeks! In fact, 44,917 would represent a 10.2% increase over the 2023 OEP's final total!

However, this is easily explained: While the federal exchange (HealthCare.Gov) and some state-based exchanges don't add auto-renewed enrollees to their official totals until after the initial December 15th deadline, BeWell NM (as well as a few other SBMs) plugs in all current enrollees as having been auto-renewed up front, and then either removes them (if an enrollee cancels their renewal) or simply switches their status from "auto-renewed" to "actively renewed" if they log into the web portal and choose a different plan/etc.

This means that New Mexico's OEP enrollment total may actually decrease a bit from week to week, since some existing enrollees always drop their coverage for the new year for various reasons. And sure enough, if you look at the Weekly Enrollment Summary tab, that's already started happening:

  • Week 1 (thru 11/04):
    • Auto-Renewals: 44,215
    • Active Renewals: 1,130
    • New Enrollees: 170
  • Week 2 (thru 11/11):
    • Auto-Renewals: 41,100
    • Active Renewals: 3,241
    • New Enrollees: 642
  • Week 3 (thru 11/18, as of 11/15):
    • Auto-Renewals: 39,313
    • Active Renewals: 4,546
    • New Enrollees: 1,058

If you wanted an apples-to-apples comparison, the "actual" number of enrollees thru 11/15 would be 5,604 (active renewals + new enrollees). While this may sound like a ~7% drop in enrollment from the same point last year, that's not really accurate either...again, the "front-loaded" auto-renewal process skews the data quite a bit.

Anyway, the portal also provides several other tabs of ongoing data: Metal level breakout, subsidy type & amount breakouts, enrollee income levels and even how many applications were completed/enrolled vs not completing the process. Very helpful indeed.