Charles Gaba's blog

OK, talk about an 11th-hour development: The Hawaii Health Connector, which has been competing with Oregon and Massachusetts for the "worst exchange" award, may have actually turned the corner just in time for the final 2 weeks of the ACA enrollment push.

If this development doesn't turn out to be another false promise (Hawaii's exchange has had several "It's working NOW! Oh, wait..." moments since October), there could be up to 16,000+ people who get piled onto the Hawaii tally over the final two weeks of open enrollment:

The Hawaii Health Connector, in its final stretch of open enrollment, says it has fixed a substantial number of system glitches that have frustrated consumers and stifled enrollment.

Contributor Maurice H. provides a bit of Off-Exchange data from Oregon. He contacted Oregon's Health CO-OP and while they didn't provide exact numbers, they were willing to provide their on-exchange/off-exchange ratios:

Oregon’s Health CO-OP is not sharing specific enrollment numbers, but is happy to give you the percentages of on and off Exchange:

On – 42%  /  Off—58%

Hope that helps.

Fortunately, an article in the Oregonian by the authority on all things Cover Oregon-related, Nick Budnick, provides the other piece of the puzzle:

Policies as of March 6th / Oregon's Health CO-OP: 212

Hmmm. Well, if 212 is 42% of the co-op's total enrollments, that makes off-exchange enrollments...505 people.

OK, not exactly a huge number, but an enrollment is an enrollment...noting it...

I just posted the big announcement out of California: They broke through the 1 million mark on Friday, reaching 1,018,315 QHPs as of Saturday night. This means they've been averaging over 10,600/day in March so far.

It also means, using my projection table, that the national total, which I had predicted would cross 5 Million sometime tomorrow, should actually break the 5 million mark today.

Specifically, the national total should be running around 167% higher than February's rate (33,600/day), or around 56,300/day in March so far. 56.3K x 15 days = 844,500, added to the 4,242,325 to date, for a total of about 5.09 million. I'll assume that this is highballing a bit, so tack on an extra day or so.

Now, they may not announce it until tomorrow, but if I'm correct about this, we should actually be at somewhere around 5.09 million by the end of today (Monday, March 17th).

There we go; I originally projected California to hit 1M last Tuesday or Wednesday, but didn't realize at the time just how bad the mid-February outage had hit the exchange. It ended up taking them 2 extra days to hit the 1M mark (Friday night). Fortunately, it looks like they've bounced back nicely:

Covered California’s enrollment reached the 1-million mark late Friday. By the end of Saturday, enrollment reached 1,018,315 in the health care exchange marketplace. The figure represents the number of people applying for coverage and selecting insurance plans for themselves and their family members through the exchange.

Just as a reminder: Based on my projection model and a little big of educated guesswork on my part, I've estimated that Private Exchange QHPs should be around 4.89 Million as of today, setting things up to cross the 5 Million mark sometime on Tuesday, March 18.

If I'm correct about this, then it means:

  • The rate averaged around 44,000/day for the first half of the month
  • The rate for the second half of March will have to average at least 74,000/day in order to hit 6 Million
  • The rate for the second half of March will have to average at least 141,000/day in order to hit 7 million

Obviously, the 7M target is going to be extremely difficult to reach at this point.

Follow-up from last night's post on Saturday's enrollment: The final number ended up being over 40,000:

Enrollment on March 15 at 2pm on the ACA website was 15,000 and counting.

UPDATED – As of 12:01 AM, March 16, 2014, Over 40,000 people signed up on Saturday and made the deadline for insurance to be effective April 1, 2014.

UPDATED - As of 6:26 PM – Around 23,000 so far for today have enrolled for healthcare.  Almost 300,000 people logged into the website today, Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Through Friday, I had the daily average for QHP enrollments at around 43,000 (up from the 33.7K/day in February).

Last night I assumed that the total enrollments for Saturday (3/15) wold end up being around 32K based on the 6:30pm total of 23K.

very nice find by Twitter follower @rwhide...this post from April D. Ryan about President Obama giving a pep talk to the Healthcare.Gov team:

Enrollment on March 15 at 2pm on the ACA website was 15,000 and counting.

UPDATE to this story - as of 6:26 PM – Around 23,000 so far for today have enrolled for healthcare.  Almost 300,000 people logged into the website today, Saturday, March 15, 2014.

OK, until today, I've been projecting March QHP enrollments to be around 43,000 per day (pre-Surge).

Let's see if we can break the data points above out.

23,000 as of 6:26pm (let's call it 6:30pm) is 1,243 per hour.

A straight-line projection (23K in 18.5 hours) would mean around 30,000 per day.

Between the success of my new QHP enrollment projection model and today's confirmation that at least some sort of "March Surge" has indeed started, I'm confident enough to add a new feature to The Graph: Estimate of Unsorted Exhange QHPs.

This new addition represents my personal estimate of the number of exchange QHP enrollments which have already been completed as of today, in addition to the ones which I've actually documented and sourced. Due to this addition, I'll be updating the chart daily going forward.

For instance, as of today, March 15, I've actually documented 4.47 million QHP enrollments. However, that only includes data through 3/01 for most states plus data since 3/01 for a dozen or so state-run exhanges. Obviously there have been additional enrollments in the other 35+ states that I just haven't documented/broken out by state yet.

From today's Detroit News, strong anecdotal evidence that Michigan, at least, is already seeing a spike in enrollment activity. The article also notes something that I didn't realize: I knew that anyone enrolling between 3/16-3/31 wouldn't have their policy coverage kick in until May 1st (and I've written about this several times), but I didn't realize that those who do so would have to apply for an exemption from the IRS next year:

Health insurers and advocates are expecting a surge in enrollment for insurance plans Saturday, the deadline to guarantee coverage beginning on April 1.

OK, now that we're prepping for the Big Home Stretch, I've added three new features to the Enrollment Projection chart:

  • March Surge Factor: Even if my formula for existing March data proves accurate, that only tells me how many March enrollments there would be if the daily rate doesn't change going forward. Obviously this is not likely to be the case; by all expectations, there should be a large end-of-month spike/surge that kicks in any day now. I haven't actually filled this in yet, I'm just prepping the spreadsheet for it. I'll be adding the Surge Factor starting on Monday.
  • Projected Daily Average: This measures my estimate of the QHP enrollment daily average throughout March so far. This is handy for helping estimate things like...
  • Projected Date for 5 Million QHPs: We should currently be at around 44K/day, which means we should hit the 5 Million mark sometime on Tuesday, March 18th.