...There's a simple reason for this: When I whipped up this year's Graph, I forgot to take into account that November 1st fell on a Tuesday this year instead of a Sunday. Since enrollments tend to drop off substantially on weekends, this means that the slowdown comes 2 days earlier each week. For most weeks this is barely visible on the Graph, but this week in particular it can make a huge difference...up to a couple hundred thousand people per day.
In addition, normally CMS officially adds several million auto-renewals in a big lump sum around December 17-18th. Since those dates also fall over the weekend this year, I'm assuming they'll all be plugged in at once on Monday the 19th, resulting in an even more dramatic vertical line shooting up on that date.
With these tweaks in mind, here's what The Graph now looks like. Again, I haven't changed my key deadline projections, just the day-to-day flow within the current week or so.
I don't write about dental plan coverage very often; the only time I've ever really talked about it at length was my angry rant at the HHS Dept. on November 20, 2014 after it was discovered that someone at HHS/CMS screwed up royally by mistakenly lumping in several hundred thousand standalone dental plan enrollments with the full Qualified Health Plan enrollments, falsely making it look like the effectuated enrollment was around 7.3 million people as of August when in fact the number had fallen below the 7.0 million mark.
Otherwise, I don't really talk about dental plans much. There's actually two ways people can sign up for dental plans via the ACA exchanges: Either as "enhanced" QHPs (ie, full healthcare policies which also bundle dental coverage with them...which all of them really should IMHO, seeing how your teeth and gums are part of your body, after all), or as separate, standalone plans which are optional (that is, you don't have to have dental coverage in order to meet the ACA's Individual Mandate requirement).
IMPORTANT: I cannot guarantee accurate federal data after 1/20/17.
...HOWEVER, their bosses...the HHS Secretary and, I presume, the head of CMS...will be appointed by Donald J. Trump and confirmed by a 100% Republican-controlled Senate.
Given Trump's long, disturbing history of flat-out misstatements (aka "making sh*t up out of whole cloth"), and the type of sycophants he's likely to put into place, I can't guarantee with 100% certainty that the numbers spouted off by them are going to bear any connection with reality. Maybe they'll be accurate. Maybe they'll be off slightly. Maybe they'll be completely removed from any actual numbers. Who the hell knows?
Earlier today it was reported that Ben Carson was being considered for HHS Secretary. Then the rumor mill turned to Bobby Jindal. At the moment, I'm hearing it could be Rep. Tom Price, who (like pretty much every other GOP member of Congress) despises the ACA. That doesn't guarantee that he'll Make Sh*t Up, of course, but under a Trump regime, anything's possible. Anything.
“The deadline to have coverage starting the first of the year is this week,” said CEO Wadleigh. “We’re seeing huge numbers of people enrolling – which is amazing. We want people to have coverage, that’s for sure. But what we want most of all is for Connecticut to be healthy. We’re on the right track – we’ve seen over 16,000 people sign up for 2017 coverage since November 1st.”
On the one hand, only 14.5% of these are new, which is disturbingly low. On the other hand, part of the reason for this is because so many current enrollees actively renewed...helped, no doubt, by CoveredCA's new policy which allowed them to do so an entire month early (starting on October 1st).
Careful readers might notice a subtle but important change in The Graph today. Most of the key numbers (including both my 12/15 and 1/31 projections) remain the same (7.7 million and 13.8 million respectively), and the overall flow of the projection curve hasn't changed. However, there's a pretty obvious difference right in the middle of the graph...namely the current week (Week 7).
The previous version had my projections as follows:
About 130,0000 Marylanders have signed up so far for insurance plans for 2017 through marylandhealthconnection.gov. Open enrollment began Nov. 1 and lasts through January, though people who want insurance starting Jan. 1 must be signed up by Thursday. About 163,000 people were enrolled in private plans this year, an increase of 33 percent from 2015.
The article was posted yesterday (12/12), so I assume the 130K figure is as of 12/11. I'm fairly certain that this includes auto-renewals, seeing how last year their 12/15 tally stood at 150K including all renewals (both passive and automatic).
It's difficult to do an exact apples to apples comparison, however, since enrollments should be ramping up dramatically during these final few days before the 12/15 deadline, so I'm not gonna try.