Charles Gaba's blog

COVID-19 Vaccine

I spent over a year posting weekly updates to my vaccination-rate-by-partisan-lean graph. I then moved to monthly updates as I was backed up with other work, and my last one was back in July.

This will be my final update of this graph for four reasons:

  • First: I've more than made my point. There's really not much more to be said about the absurd & disturbing partisanship of COVID-19 vaccination rates that hasn't already been discussed ad nauseum here and elsewhere.
  • Second: The 1st- & 2nd-dose vaccination rates have slowed to a trickle across the nation overall anyway; by my count, only around 1.2 million Americans have completed their 2nd vaccination dose since mid July. That's only around 22,000 per day nationally.
  • Third, we're now 2 1/2 years out from the official 2020 Census population data, which means the denominator I've been dividing into for all of this data is now pretty out of date.
  • And fourth, the addition of 3rd & 4th shots (boosters as they're called), along with the just-approved Omicron-specific vaccine doses, have muddied the data waters pretty badly in a lot of parts of the country, with doses being miscategorized in databases, etc.

Having said that, here's my methodology reminders:

  • I go by county residents who have received the 2nd COVID-19 shot only (or 1st in the case of the J&J vaccine).
  • I base my percentages on the total population via the 2020 U.S. Census including all ages (i.e., it includes kids under 12).
CMS Logo

via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), approved the extension of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in Indiana and West Virginia. As a result, up to an additional 15,000 people annually – including 12,000 in Indiana and 3,000 in West Virginia – will now be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a full year after pregnancy. With today’s approval, in combination with previously approved state extensions, an estimated 333,000 Americans annually in 23 states and D.C. are eligible for 12 months of postpartum coverage. If all states adopted this option, as many as 720,000 people across the United States annually would be guaranteed Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy.

Connect for Health Colorado Logo

via Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado's ACA exchange:

Insurance Brokers and Enrollment Assisters Available across Colorado

DENVER— One way the state’s health insurance Marketplace serves Colorado’s health coverage needs is by providing a diverse network of experts who can help residents enroll in the best plan for them – and who can help for free any time of the year.

These experts are Connect for Health Colorado-certified Insurance Brokers and Enrollment Assisters, and they live and work everywhere across the state.

“Our certified experts are a valuable source of support for Coloradans,” said Connect for Health Colorado’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Patterson. “But they don’t just provide enrollment services; they offer a continuum of assistance. I encourage anyone who needs health insurance help to use a Connect for Health Colorado Assistance Site. We’re here to help you navigate anything that changes your situation, so that you can stay covered.”

More Assistance and Resources Than Ever Before

MNsure Logo

via MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Today, MNsure, Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace, announced over $4.2 million in grant awards to 22 organizations to support increased outreach and enrollment help in communities across the state. All 22 organizations employ MNsure-certified “navigators” — local experts who offer free application and enrollment assistance to Minnesotans who need health insurance.

Navigators provide crucial support for consumers by answering questions and guiding them through the application and enrollment process from start to finish, completely free of cost. Working with a navigator can reduce barriers to getting or maintaining health coverage such as a lack of comfort using technology, unreliable internet access, limited English proficiency, or unfamiliarity with health insurance terms.

Washington HealthPlan Finder

via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

FTC action against Benefytt results in refunds for consumers who bought insufficient plansOlympia, WA

Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange) is opening a special enrollment period until Nov. 10, 2022, for 232 Washingtonians who were sold an insufficient healthcare plan from Benefytt Technologies.

Benefytt must contact customers who are currently paying for Benefytt’s plans, inform them of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) complaint against the company, and allow them to cancel their enrollment. Benefytt also must provide refunds for payments made after the order is entered directly to customers who cancel right away.


Via the Idaho Insurance Dept:

Idahoans to see 12-percent lower health insurance costs with approval of key “Leading Idaho” waiver

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little announced today the State of Idaho achieved a key milestone of the “Leading Idaho” plan – approval of the state’s innovation waiver, ensuring accessible health insurance for more Idahoans.

“Idahoans benefited from another win from our ‘Leading Idaho’ plan today. The approval of the state’s innovation waiver is estimated to reduce insurance premiums for individuals by about 12-percent, keeping more Idahoans insured and providing them better access to affordable healthcare,” Governor Little said.


Back in july, the Maine Dept. of Professional & Financial Regulation posted the preliminary 2023 rate filings for Maine's individual & small group markets:

Maine Health Insurers File Proposed Rates for 2023 Plan Year

Health insurance carriers in Maine's Individual and Small Group markets have filed proposed rates with the Maine Bureau of Insurance (the Bureau) for the 2023 plan year. June 27, 2022 was the deadline for the initial filing of plans and rates, but insurers may revise their filings through July 20, 2022.

Back in July, Covered California posted the preliminary 2023 rate changes for ACA individual market healthcare policies. Overall, the weighted average rate hike was around 6.0% across the entire statewide market.

Yesterday, CoveredCA announced that thanks to the Inflation Reducation Act being signed into law by President Biden...

...@CoveredCA is announcing a reduction in its 2023 average rate change from 6% to 5.6%. The 0.4% decrease is due to the Inflation Reduction Act ensuring increased financial help for next year. Renewal begins Oct. 1 and #OpenEnrollment starts Nov. 1 for #ACA coverage.

Unfortunately they haven't posted the rate changes for each individual insurance carrier yet, but assuming it's fairly even across all of them, the premium savings should amount to something like:

This has been a long time coming...via the HHS Dept. (by email, no link yet):

New Rule Makes Clear that Noncitizens Who Receive Health or Other Benefits to which they are Entitled Will Not Suffer Harmful Immigration Consequences

Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule applicable to noncitizens who receive or wish to apply for benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and States that support low-income families and adults. The rule, which details how DHS will interpret the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility, will help ensure that noncitizens can access health-related benefits and other supplemental government services to which they are entitled by law, without triggering harmful immigration consequences. By codifying in regulation the “totality of the circumstances” approach that is authorized by statute and which has long been utilized by DHS, the rule makes it clear that individual factors, such as a person’s disability or use of benefits alone will not lead to a public charge determination.


via the Connecticut Insurance Department:


  • As Health Care Costs Continue to Rise, Insurance Department Protects Consumers Against Unjustified Rate Increases by Holding Insurers to Historically Low Profit Margins

Connecticut Insurance Department (CID) Commissioner Andrew N. Mais announced today that the Department continues to protect consumers by significantly reducing health insurers’ 2023 requested rates, despite ongoing increases in underlying health care costs.