Charles Gaba's blog

As I note every week, between Rhode Island's tiny population, tinier ACA exchange numbers and especially their decision to "front-load" autorenewals of all current enrollees ahead of the 12/23 deadline for January coverage, their official QHP selection tally is only going up a few hundred per week. Week Six is no diffferent:

INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY ENROLLMENT As of December 12, 2015:

Some Guy, October 2015:

With all that in mind, as of October 25th, no matter how I slice it, the national weighted average increase for 2016 seems to be somewhere between 12% - 13%.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Today:

HIX Compare datasets examine every marketplace plan from 2015 to 2016.

As I noted last night, the massive traffic surge at HealthCare.Gov (as well as several of the state exchanges) resulted in HC.gov, CoveredCA and other exchanges bumping out their December deadlines for January 1st coverage. While I figured a few of the state exchanges might do this, I honestly wasn't expecting either HC.gov or CoveredCA (the largest state-based exchange) to do so.

As a result...I'm in a bit of a holding pattern when it comes to projecting The Graph for the next couple of days. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Second, and more to the point, in light of last night's 2-day extension and corresponding server overload, I have no way of knowing a) what the "spread" of QHP selections is between new and active renewals, and b) I have no idea whether Wednesday/Thursday/Friday will be three huge days in a row or a single massive day followed by two "merely large" days.

Seriously, this was the sum total of anything remotely ACA/healthcare-related during over two hours of GOP blather:

BLITZER: But my question was: Should these Silicon Valley companies be forced to cooperate with the FBI?

FIORINA: They do not need to be forced. They need to be asked to bring the best and brightest, the most recent technology to the table. I was asked as a CEO. I complied happily. And they will as well. But they have not been asked.That's why it cost billions of dollars to build an Obama website that failed because the private sector wasn't asked.

Note to Carly Fiorina: The original HealthCare.Gov, which launched and, yes, failed miserably in 2013 was built by the "private sector"...namely, Canadian-owned CGI Federal.

This isn't particularly surprising now that HealthCare.Gov has already done the same thing, but it's still big news:

COVERED CALIFORNIA EXTENDS ENROLLMENT DEADLINE FOR JAN. 1 COVERAGE

Current enrollment surpasses last year’s demand

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Due to very high demand for health insurance through Covered California, the deadline to enroll for coverage starting Jan. 1 will be extended until Dec. 17 to accommodate the surge in interest.

The Service Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17.

“The spike in interest we are seeing in the last few days tells us there is continued demand for quality, affordable coverage,” said Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “We already have enrolled more consumers this year for Jan. 1 coverage than we did last year.”

Covered California has heard from our certified enrollers, including agents, that they still are processing thousands of applications and appreciate the additional time to ensure consumers receive coverage for all of 2016.

“We want to make sure everyone calling for coverage gets the help they need,” Lee said.

This Just In...

“Because of the unprecedented demand and volume of consumers contacting our call center or visiting HealthCare.gov, we are extending the deadline to sign-up for January 1 coverage until 11:59pm PST December 17. Hundreds of thousands have already selected plans over the last two days and approximately 1 million consumers have left their contact information to hold their place in line. Our goal is to provide access to affordable coverage, and the additional 48 hours will give consumers an opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage. ”

--Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces

Welp, you can probably throw The Graph out the window now, at least in terms of the "spike" hitting right around now. My model was based on the assumption that yes, there'd be a huge spike yesterday and today, followed by perhaps 3 million auto-renewals being tacked on all at once tomorrow/Thursday.

Just a quick hit: There's now just under 7 hours to go before the December 15th deadline for January 1st coverage (I'm assuming the actual deadline is midnight Pacific time?), and it looks like we've indeed reached the server capacity limits of HealthCare.Gov; it placed me on the "Waiting Room" screen for a solid 10 minutes before redirecting me to the account login page.

Meanwhile, Covered California just issued the following statement:

COVERED CALIFORNIA EXTENDS SERVICE CENTER HOURS UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO HELP CONSUMERS BEAT KEY DEADLINE

This is a classic "glass half full/half empty" situation.

Remember in October when I noted that up to 1.5 million current ACA exchange enrollees could have been at risk of losing their federal tax credits this year?

The short version is that about 710,000 enrollees forgot to file a tax return at all (or didn't even know they were required to do so). Another 760,000 did file their taxes, but forgot to include the extra Form 8962 which was required to reconcile their 2014 tax credits (one of those happened to be, ahem...me).

OK, this is pretty nifty! You know those way-cool interactive color-coded maps that you see on major media sites like the NY Times? The ones where you can roll over each state and get pop-up data, etc?

Well, a company called Graphiq which specializes in exactly these maps has done just that with some of my data. The map below shows the percentage of those eligible to enroll in ACA exchange policies who were enrolled as of June 2015. Obviously these numbers have likely shifted since June, and will look quite different starting in January, but this is the most recent hard data available.

The data comes from the third - sixth columns of The Spreadsheet, which itself in turn comes from CMS's official June 30, 2015 Effectuated Enrollment Snapshot report and the Kaiser Family Foundation's New Estimates of Eligibility for ACA Coverage among the Uninsured from October.

Breaking...

Deadline extended: enroll by Friday, December 19th for coverage beginning January 1, 2016. Apply now: https://t.co/phogDv2qwK #EnrollNY

— NY State of Health (@NYStateofHealth) December 15, 2015

Here's the official press release:

Press Release: NY State of Health Extends Enrollment Deadline for January 1 Coverage • Dec 15, 2015

New Yorkers Now Have Until December 19 to Enroll for Health Insurance Coverage that Begins January 1

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