Charles Gaba's blog

OK, after all of today's excitement it's back to the state-by-state grind...

More than 55,000 Vermonters have picked a health plan through Vermont Health Connect since open enrollment began in October and more than 43,000 are fully enrolled in new coverage. That means roughly 12,000 Vermonters have yet to pay their first premium or are having problems completing the process.

Contributor deaconblues has done the math for me this time, which I appreciate since my brain is fried today:

I know Vermont is a tricky beast, but this article specifically says 55K through the Vermont Health Connector (no bulk transfers or SHOP)

The current numbers on the spreadsheet say:

  • QHP: 28,950 (18,507 paid + 10,443 unpaid)
  • Medicaid: 21,525
  • Total: 50,475

This would imply they've newly added about 4,500. If you prorate the 55K across QHP and Medicaid (58/42), and use the paid QHP as a "hard number", you get

  • QHP: 31,900 (19,900 paid + 12,000 unpaid)
  • Medicaid: 23,100

This looks right to me, so there you go.

Here's the full roundup of the "extended enrollment period" status of all 50 states + DC (I still don't know the status of Hawaii or Rhode Island):


The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline.

Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.

Well, first of all, I've gone ahead and increased my official 3/31 projection to 6.5 million exchange QHPs.

This may go up a bit more, but we're really into uncharted territory at this point. This is where I really am not the "Nate Silver of..." anything. I don't run 10,000 simulations across a complex computer model or anything like that, I can only rely on the existing data, and things are ramping up a bit more quickly than I figured a few days ago, so a lot of this is going to be "back of the envelope" guesswork going into the final weekend.

There's another huge factor to consider as well: The post-3/31 QHP enrollments.

These impact things in several ways:

First of all, since at least 43 states (I think...possibly more) are now doing the "as long as you start by 3/31 you have until 4/15 to complete" thing, some people who otherwise would have scrambled this weekend may ease up, start the process this weekend and then come back to finish the first week of April.

Here you off the, Twitter-feed, anyway...

@charles_gaba MT @igorvolsky: BREAKING: Obama says on a call that 6 million people have enrolled in Obamacare.

— Seth Trueger (@MDaware) March 27, 2014

Things are moving VERY quickly now, and events are quickly overtaking my ability to keep up. I'll post more details as quickly as possible, but all sorts of stuff may get by me.

For example, I just added this update from the WSJ, which claims 100K QHPs per day on Mon/Tue.

UPDATE: Just received confirmation that the 6M milestone was indeed reached sometime yesterday (Wednesday).


Note: This entry is purely speculative at this point (I'm ignoring Gandalf's advice here and straying off the path).

OK, earlier today I said:

IF it's true that around 79,000 people per day have been enrolling nationally all of this week, that means that yes, we could indeed have already surpassed the 6 million mark...THIS week.

My current projection has exchange QHPs breaking the 6M mark sometime late today (Thursday) or early tomorrow (Friday), but it's conceivable that we did already pass it late last night or early this morning.

Then, about an hour ago, I posted this update which embraced the bold-faced part of that last sentence:

I'm gonna go for it and predict an announcement later today that the 6 million exchange QHP milestone has been hit.

OK, I'm probably gonna go down in flames for this, but this "50K Households Started Applications Yesterday" tweet from Covered California keeps coming to mind.

50,000 households started #CoveredCA health insurance applications yesterday - our highest number yet.

— Covered California (@CoveredCA) March 26, 2014

I'm gonna go for it and predict an announcement later today that the 6 million exchange QHP milestone has been hit.

(to clarify: if they announce it today, it probably actually crossed 6M sometime last night or early this morning)

I'm leaving the 3/31 projection as 6.39M for the moment, but will update this (or not) depending on whether I'm correct about a 6M announcement (or not).

Just to get this out of the way since so many have asked...

April D. Ryan, who broke the awesome scoop about enrolling 40K in a single day back on 3/15, reported a very eye-opening claim yesterday: That supposedly total exchange QHP enrollments had already broken the 6 million mark last week:

Sources who do not wish to be identified, contend last week that the ACA enrollment numbers surpassed the six million mark.  A source also says  ”People are swarming to the website and enrollments are rising.” On Tuesday March 25, 2014 over 1.2 million people visited the website.  Enrollments have exceeded 60,000 per day since Sunday March 23, 2014.

The White House denied the claim, but her sources insisted that it was true:

No exact numbers, but the previous update as of 3/15 was 22,533 paid / 10,520 unpaid (33,053 total), so this looks right. NV's March pace is still running around 45% above February's daily average.

As of March 22, more than 35,000 people have signed up for a health insurance plan. Approximately 23,000 of them have already started making payments on their health care coverage.

As usual with Massachusetts, there's a lot of weird numbers flying around in this article (and therefore, no new hard enrollment numbers to add at the moment), but there's some other important stuff right in the lede:

BOSTON -- Massachusetts residents who have had difficulty signing up through the Health Connector for unsubsidized health insurance coverage will be given an extra two weeks to enroll under an extension plan to be presented Thursday, two days after President Barack Obama announced a similar reprieve for frustrated consumers on the national level.

...Residents who have had trouble completing enrollment to due technical problems with the website will be allowed to shop online for unsubsidized plans through April 15, with payment due April 23 for coverage starting on May 1.

OK, first, there's the standard "you get until 4/15 as long as you started by 3/31" bit which is all the rage (seriously, I think Connecticut is the only state not extending enrollment in one way or another at this point, while Rhode Island nor Hawaii are the only other states not to chime in one way or another...which is insane in the case of Hawaii).

A nice little update out of DC...they even did the net gain math for me! Unfortunately they didn't separate out QHPs from Medicaid (the 17,899 number includes both).

If I assume the a slightly lower 32/68 breakout of the new enrollments (it was 36/64), that should mean an extra 1,410 QHPs and 2,996 Medicaid enrollees.

That gives a total of 7,926 exchange QHPs and 14,379 new Medicaid total.

DC's numbers are so small that I'd normally say that even if my breakout is wrong, it won't impact the projection enough to worry about...but in this case, they were running 40% below the February rate, so this jump to 26% higher actually bumps the projection back up a smidge after all, to a solid 6.4M.

Since March 10 (the last data release), enrollment through DC Health Link increased significantly.  To date a total of 22,305 people have enrolled through DC Health Link’s individual marketplace, up from 17,899 on March 10.  This is an increase of 4,406 people just in the last few weeks. (Note this data does not include enrollment through the small business marketplace.)