Charles Gaba's blog

Get Covered 2021!

 

Nearly every state (+DC) has re-opened enrollment on their respective ACA exchanges in response to both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which substantially expands and enhances premium subsidies to millions of people!

If you've never enrolled in an ACA healthcare policy before, or if you looked into it years ago but weren't impressed, please give it another shot now. Thanks to the ARP (and some other reasons), it's a whole different ballgame this spring & summer.

Here's 10 important things to understand when you #GetCovered:

ACA Signups Logo

A few days ago, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted an updated report on the number of Americans who have selected Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) through HealthCare.Gov, which hosts ACA enrollment for 36 states during the ongoing COVID Special Enrollment Period (SEP) which began on February 15th and is set to continue through August 15th in most states.

In addition to the 940,000 QHPs via the federal exchange (HC.gov) from 2/15 through 4/30, I've compiled officlal SEP enrollment numbers for several of the states which operate their own ACA exchanges as well:

  • Colorado: 17,282 from 2/08 - 5/05
  • Connecticut: 5,890 from 2/15 - 4/15
  • Idaho: 3,600 from 3/01 - 3/31
  • Maryland: 15,150 from 1/01 - 2/28
  • Minnesota: 2,285 from 2/16 - 3/09
  • Nevada: 6,908 from 2/15 - 5/06
  • Pennsylvania: 11,126 from 2/15 - 3/25
  • Washington: 1,700 from 2/15 - 2/23

The total of these, plus the 940,000 via HC.gov, comes to 1,003,516 confirmed so far.

Nevada Health Link Logo

There's no formal press release yet, but I've confirmed that the Nevada Health Link ACA exchange has enrolled 6,908 additional Nevadans in ACA exchange coverage via the COVID Special Enrollment Period as of yesterday (5/06) so far.

This breaks out to around 85 per day from 2/15 - 5/06.

Unfortunately, I don't have Nevada's 2019 or 2020 SEP enrollment handy for comparison, but NV's statewide population (3.10) is right in between Arkansas (3.03 million) and Iowa (3.19 million), which at least allows for a rough comparison:

This strongly suggests that Nevada's 85/day average is perhap 2.5x higher than 2019 and perhaps twice as high as 2020, although 2020 is a fuzzier comparison since HC.gov didn't have a COVID SEP last year while the Nevada Health Link did.

COVID Icon

The data below comes from the GitHub data repositories of Johns Hopkins University, except for Utah, which comes from the GitHub data of the New York Times due to JHU not breaking the state out by county but by "region" for some reason.

Important:

  • Every county except those in Alaska lists the 2020 Biden/Trump partisan lean; Alaska still uses the 2016 Clinton/Trump results (the 2020 Alaska results are only available by state legislative district, not by county/borough for some reason...if anyone has that info let me know)
  • I define a "Swing District" as one where the difference between Biden & Trump was less than 6.0%. FWIW, there's just 187 swing districts (out of over 3,100 total), with around 33.7 million Americans out of 332 million total, or roughly 10.2% of the U.S. population.
  • For the U.S. territories, Puerto Rico only includes the case breakout, not deaths, which are unavailable by county equivalent for some reason.

With those caveats in mind, here's the top 100 counties ranked by per capita COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, May 6th, 2021 (click image for high-res version).

  • Blue = Joe Biden won by more than 6 points
  • Orange = Donald Trump won by more than 6 points
  • Yellow = Swing District (Biden or Trump won by less than 6 points)
Connect for Health Colorado Logo

In addition to the 940,000 Americans who have enrolled in ACA coverage across the 36 states hosted by HealthCare.Gov to date during the COVID Special Enrollment Period, Connect for Health Colorado just announced that the Centennial State has enrolled over 17,200 more people via their own COVID SEP:

DENVER — 17,282 Coloradans have signed up for a health insurance plan since Connect for Health Colorado re-opened enrollment on Feb. 8, with more than 7,500 sign ups in the last month alone. That uptick in enrollments coincides with the date that Connect for Health Colorado began offering increased savings on health insurance to residents of all income ranges following the passage of the American Rescue Plan.

Hmmm...I know they say "7,500 in the past month", but they reported 9,971 as of 4/07, so that should mean 7,311 in the past month. Huh.

Washington HealthPlan Finder

This just in from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange...

Washington Health Benefit Exchange Opens the Doors for Washingtonians to Benefit from Lower Health Care Premiums and Save Money Through the American Rescue Plan

  • More Than $250 Million in Tax Credits Available to Help Washingtonians Lower Health Insurance Costs

Health coverage purchased on Washington Healthplanfinder became much more affordable today as the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) rolled out new savings to help Washingtonians with the cost of their individual health insurance.

HealthCare.Gov Logo

As I noted this morning, CMS has released an updated Special Enrollment Period report which includes SEP enrollment from 2/15 through 4/30 for the 36 states hosted via HealthCare.Gov.

Overall, enrollment during the 2021 COVID SEP is up 3.5x vs. the same time period in 2019, which makes sense when you consider a) the COVID pandemic which has caused millions to lose their income and/or employer-based healthcare coverage; b) the "fully open" status of the COVID SEP; and c) the expanded subsidies put in place under the American Rescue Plan.

SEP enrollment is also up 2.4x over the same time period in 2020; COVID was in full force for most of that period last year, but HC.gov refused to launch a "wide open" SEP as most of the state-based exchanges did, nor were there any expanded subsidies in place, so 2019 is still the more appropriate year to compare against. (Besides, 2020 was a leap year, which tacked an extra day onto the total).

This just in from CMS...

HHS Secretary Becerra Announces Nearly 940,000 Americans Have Signed Up for Health Coverage through HealthCare.gov During Special Enrollment Period

  • Since April 1, premiums have been reduced by over 40 percent for nearly 2 million current HealthCare.gov enrollees

Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that nearly 940,000 Americans have signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov as a result of the Biden Administration’s Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The 2021 SEP, along with the additional financial assistance afforded by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), offers individuals and families an opportunity to take advantage of reduced premiums, increased savings, and quality, affordable health coverage through HealthCare.gov.

Connecticut

As I noted recently, I've relaunched my project from last fall to track Medicaid enrollment (both standard and expansion alike) on a monthly basis for every state dating back to the ACA being signed into law.

For total monthly Medicaid enrollment, the official Medicaid.gov monthly enrollment data is only available dating back to late 2013, and it's only current through November 2020. The Kaiser Family Foundation has also compiled the pre-2014 average enrollment for each state based on the 3rd quarter of 2013. In some states I've been able to find more recent enrollment data for December 2020 or later.

Colorado

As I noted recently, I've relaunched my project from last fall to track Medicaid enrollment (both standard and expansion alike) on a monthly basis for every state dating back to the ACA being signed into law.

For total monthly Medicaid enrollment, the official Medicaid.gov monthly enrollment data is only available dating back to late 2013, and it's only current through November 2020. The Kaiser Family Foundation has also compiled the pre-2014 average enrollment for each state based on the 3rd quarter of 2013. In some states I've been able to find more recent enrollment data for December 2020 or later.

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