IMPORTANT: The official 2022 Open Enrollment Period has now ended in most of the country, but there's 8 states where residents still have time to #GetCovered, with their new healthcare policies going into effect starting either February 1st or March 1st.
The 2022 OEP is by far the best ever for the ACA coverage, with dramatically expanded financial help for millions more people (including many who weren't eligible last year), reinvigorated expert, unbiased assistance, more choices in many states and counties, and FREE policies for more people than ever before.
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 American Rescue Plan (ARP), it's a whole different ballgame.
Here's some important things to know when you #GetCovered for 2022:
For months I posted weekly looks at the rate of COVID-19 cases & deaths at the county level since the end of June, broken out by partisan lean (i.e, what percent of the vote Donald Trump received in 2020), as well as by the vaccination rate of each county in the U.S. (nonpartisan).
This basically amounts to the point when the Delta Variant wave hit the U.S., although it had been quietly spreading under the radar for a few months prior to that.
Now that we're a full month into the Omicron Variant wave, I've updated my case/death rate tracking to reflect that as well...because the data so far is showing a completely new chapter as we enter the 3rd year of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The "start" of the Delta Wave was easy to lock in for my purposes; both cases and deaths from COVID had dropped off dramatically right up until around the end of June. The Delta Wave started showing up in the daily deaths pretty quickly as July started. The transition from the Delta to Omicron was a lot fuzzier, but I've decided to go with December 15th as my transition point.
I go by county residents who have received the 2nd COVID-19 shot only (or 1st in the case of the J&J vaccine).
(data for 3rd/booster shots aren't available at the county level in most states yet)
I base my percentages on the total population via the 2020 U.S. Census as opposed to adults only or those over 11 years old (or even over 4 years old).
For most states + DC I use the daily data from the Centers for Disease Control, but there are some where the CDC is either missing county-level data entirely or where the CDC data is less than 90% complete at the county level. Therefore:
NOTE: I've started using the official state health department dashboard for Virginia this week due to some weirdness in the COVID Act Now data. Unfortunately the VA Health Dept. dashboard doesn't allow you to export, view or download all 95 counties/city-counties at once, making this a tedious effort, so I'm not sure how I'll deal with it going forward.
Every year since the very first ACA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) in 2013-2014, at least a few of the state-based exchanges (and sometimes the federal exchange) have made last-minute deadline extensions. It's actually turned into a bit of a running joke with me.
The 2022 OEP has been no exception: Already during the 2022 OEP we've seen Idaho, New Mexico, Connecticut and Kentucky bump out their December deadline (for January coverage).
Sure enough, a couple of days ago the Kentucky exchange, kynect, posted the following:
Statement by CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure On the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision on Vaccine Requirements
“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extremely pleased the Supreme Court recognized CMS’ authority to set a consistent COVID-19 vaccination standard for workers in facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. CMS’ vaccine rule will cover 10.4 million health care workers at 76,000 medical facilities. Giving patients assurance on the safety of their care is a critical responsibility of CMS and a key to combatting the pandemic.
“Vaccines are proven to reduce the risk of severe disease. The prevalence of the virus and its ever-evolving variants in health care settings continues to increase the risk of staff contracting and transmitting COVID-19, putting their patients, families, and our broader communities at risk. And health care staff being unable to work because of illness or exposure to COVID-19 further strains the health care system and limits patient access to safe and essential care.
Colorado’s Health Insurance Enrollment Period Ends January 15th
Free Enrollment Help is Available Statewide
DENVER – This Saturday, January 15th, is the last day of Colorado’s annual Open Enrollment Period for health insurance. Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, reports that more than 190,000 Coloradans have signed up for a health insurance plan so far.
That means Colorado is already up 5.8% over last year's final total OEP enrollment with 3 days left to go.
“Health insurance is a critical tool for families amid the ongoing pandemic,” said Chief Executive Officer Kevin Patterson. “If you don’t know where to go to get covered, start with Connect for Health Colorado. We have free enrollment assistance and are here to help you every step of the way. Don’t miss this opportunity to enroll.”
On Monday morning, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that total 2022 ACA Open Enrollment had reached an all-time high of 13.8 mllion people selecting Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) via the federal & state-based ACA exchanges. In addition, over a million more Americans had enrolled in the ACA's "Basic Health Plan" (BHP) programs in Minnesota & New York. Combined, this means that the 2022 ACA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) had enrolled nearly 14.9 million people as of late December.
In my blog post/analysis about this report, I concluded:
The big question now is how many more new enrollees will be added by January 15th (final deadline in 44 states), January 23rd (Massachusetts) or January 31st (CA, DC, NJ, NY & RI)? (Idaho is the only state which had their final deadline for 2022 Open Enrollment back in December).
Below you will find a summary of the Open Enrollment Period through week 9. The overview includes, but is not limited to:
enrollees renewing coverage
call center volume
In week ten of the 2022 Open Enrollment Period, over 44,000 New Mexicans have a plan selection, representing year-over-year growth. Over 36% of enrollees had in-person assistance (agents, brokers, or enrollment counselors). Individuals have until January 15th to enroll, and can opt in for coverage to start in January of February.
Final numbers, where accounts have been reviewed for errors or duplication, will be reported at the appropriate time after Open Enrollment.