Nearly 71 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP in November 2015. 7 This enrollment count is point-in-time (on the last day of the month) and includes all enrollees in the Medicaid and CHIP programs who are receiving a comprehensive benefit package.
This number is about 900K lower than October's report (71.8 million) due to a reporting correction in California:
There was a quick "Final Countdown" conference call with the CMS team this afternoon, pushing the upcoming final Open Enrollment deadline this Sunday at midnight.
There wasn't a ton of notable news; most of it was reiterating the numbers put out yesterday, giving a shout-out to certain states and specific cities which are substantially outperforming last year so far (14 states are 20% ahead of where they were last year at this time, and several southern cities were recognized specifically:
States which are 20% ahead of last year: OR, NV, IA, UT, SD, LA, NE, ND, TN, OK, AL, ME, WI, NJ
Southern cities outerperforming last year: Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Nashvillle, New Orleans, Atlanta and Miami
They also noted that yes, traffic is finally starting to ramp up in the final days: A 50% increase in HealthCare.Gov traffic, twice as many phone calls came in by this morning as all of yesterday, etc.
Just now, they confirmed the latest numbers ahead of Sunday's final deadline:
As of 1/26, 156,695 QHP / 304,667 Medicaid / 25,784 Dental.
I've never really tracked dental plans, and I'll be writing about the latest Medicaid numbers later, but that's 156,695 QHPs as of 1/26, or 994 more in the past 6 days, or 166 per day.
This is actually a slowdown from MD's average from 12/28 - 1/20, when they reported a net gain of 5,408 over 23 days (235 per day). On the other hand, given how much Maryland has been kicking butt this year, perhaps they're just running out of people to, you know, enroll.
Anyway, MD is on track to add at least another 1,000, potentially up to 3,000 more for a final number close to 160K.
So...what went wrong? Well, from the HHS Dept's POV, nothing...or at least nothing that they didn't already project last October. They had already openly stated that they didn't expect any dramatic exchange enrollment increases this year, giving a wide open enrollment range of 11.0 - 14.1 million QHP selections...which has a mid-range of 12.6 million.
The proper question here is how I managed to get it wrong, overestimating by what could be up to 2 million people, Obviously I can't be expected to nail every number, but that would be the least-accurate projection I've had to date.
I'll run a full post-mortem after the final numbers come in next week, of course (it may take even longer for a few of the state exchange numbers to roll in), but there are three four major factors I wanted to address right now (and no, none of these have anything to do with how affordable the policies are, whether the networks are too narrow or the deductibles too high, etc etc; those all contribute, of course, but are also a completely separate discussion):
BOISE, Idaho – The deadline to get health insurance coverage through Your Health Idaho is just days away. If you want health insurance for 2016 you must enroll by January 31. Already, more than 95,000 Idahoans have selected health insurance plans through the state’s health insurance exchange.
Through the first 12 weeks of open enrollment, more than 188,000 residents have selected a Qualified Health Plan for coverage in 2016. Those sign-ups represent a 30 percent increase in plans selected over the first 12 weeks of open enrollment last year.
I presume "the first 12 weeks" means as of 1/23, which would mean another 8,000 people in just 2 days, which is excellent if true (WA was one of 3 states to have a later February coverage deadline...of 1/23).
In any event, this brings WA up to 188,000 people, or 89.5% of my 210K target for the state.
That leaves just 1 week to enroll at least 22,000 people, or 3,142 per day, which actually seems doable after all.
A few hours from now, CMS should be releasing the HealthCare.Gov Week 12 Snapshot report. As noted last week, the "pre-purge" factor has completely messed up my projection model this year, since the numbers for weeks 1-10 could have been lopped down by several hundred thousand people (nearly 250K of which were confirmed to have happened in Week 11 alone). While the purge numbers for the previous 10 weeks were likely much smaller, it still screws up my methodology.
As a result, my original projection for this week of around 400,000 QHP selections has an important caveat: It depends greatly on how whether that number includes the purged/cancelled enrollments or not:
Here's a related development which makes sense as well (thanks to Rachel Karas for the link): A letter from U.S. Senator Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell (emphasis added):