Charles Gaba's blog

For some reason Maryland's thru-dates are different for QHPs and Medicaid; not sure why. Anyway, they're up to 44,836 QHPs (up over 4,100 from 40,693 on 3/08) and Medicaid enrollments are up to 107,505 from 97,781 on 3/11 (up 9,700).

From October 1, 2013, through March 15, 2014, there have been more than a million unique visitors to the Maryland Health Connection website. 197,818 Marylanders have created identity- verified accounts. Through March 15, 44,836 Marylanders have chosen to enroll in private health plans through Maryland Health Connection.

As of March 18, 203,394 individuals have gained Medicaid coverage in 2014 and remain active in Medicaid. This includes the 95,889 PAC enrollees who were automatically converted on January 1, 2014 to full Medicaid coverage.

On the March Surge side, Maryland is ramping up from 116% of their February rate the first week of March to 150% when you include the second week.

A bit of an update out of Massachusetts; the article is another rundown of the MA Mess, but there's actually small enrollment update included as well: Exchange QHPs have gone up from 12,965 on 3/01 to 15,140 as of "this week" (I'll call it Wednesday the 19th).

As of this week, only 740 Massachusetts residents have been able to enroll in newly subsidized plans under the act, Health Connector Authority spokesman Jason Lefferts said.

He said 14,400 people were able to enroll in unsubsidized plans on the private market by using the connector's website. Their success rate is tied to not needing to go through the income eligibility process, Lefferts said.

However, here's the actual good news: It turns out that Massachusetts only includes paid enrollees in their reports. From a CNBC article a week ago:

I just posted a lonnnnnng explanation the details of the "But how many have PAID???" situation. It gets kind of deep into the weeds, so I'll stop now, but I do just want to simplify things with a shorter, separate post:

Let's be clear about this: SOME of the people who haven't paid ARE going to prove to be deadbeats. That's inevitable in any industry that serves millions of people, just as shoplifting is a real problem that retailers have to deal with (and as I noted earlier, what was the insurance industry norm for cancelled/unpaid premiums prior to the ACA? Probably fairly low, but how low? 1%? 2%?).

The problem is that the "But how many have PAID???" attack seems to be based on the premise that ALL of the non-payments are deadbeats (or, alternately, that they're ALL due to exchange technical problems).

Here's the thing, though: There's 5 reasons I can think of why the first premium might not be paid yet:

Not exactly a huge spike, but a person covered is a person covered...

As of March 18, 524 people had enrolled in health plans through the New Mexico small business, or SHOP exchange, according to figures from NMHIX. That includes 345 employees and 179 dependents.

In response to my Paid/Unpaid Brouhaha update last night, a commentor brought this story out of to my attention, which in turn links to this memo (PDF) from the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioners Office.

In the middle of it we find this (partial) paid/unpaid data, which indeed only applies to January and February start-dates:

4. How many consumers have enrolled in coverage through the federal exchange? How many consumers have paid their premium?

(Reposted with updated numbers and additional info given that NewsBusters has decided to launch a hit piece on me using the "But how many have PAID???" attack point)

I've written about the "But How Many Have PAID???" issue many times before, but going into the final stretch, I wanted to explain my reasoning as clearly as possible.

The following chart only includes states which have broken out Paid vs. Unpaid Enrollments. If you only use these 10 states as a guideline, it looks like the paid rate is around 85%:

NOTE: This represents the Paid vs. Unpaid enrollments out of all enrollments reported to the HHS as of the Thru Date listed.

Massachusetts doesn't report unpaid enrollments at all, and Washington lists unpaid enrollments separately in their press releases but does not included them in HHS report data. As a result, both states are actually at 100% paid (in terms of the numbers in the HHS reports, which is what we're talking about here).

OK, this is a tiny number but every data point an article about the final crunch-time outreach efforts is this bit about the Nevada Health CO-OP's success:

The CO-OP sells plans both on and off of the exchange, but the “vast majority” of consumers who ask about plans are subsidy-eligible and buying on the exchange, Egan said. The CO-OP has actually sold more plans through the exchange than any other insurer: It’s responsible for 37 percent of plans sold, beating out industry titans UnitedHealthcare and Anthem, the state’s two biggest insurers. The CO-OP had sold about 9,500 plans on the exchange and just under 1,000 off of it as of Tuesday.

I'm gonna call "just under 1,000" 990 (shrug).

OK, the cutesy title is kind of a misnomer; my two previous entries didn't use that title originally...but they should have, and do now.

March 31st is supposed to be the final day to enroll in QHPs via the exchanges...but it's looking more and more as though that won't quite be the case in not two, not three...but possibly up to seven states now, including a couple whose websites have been working smooth as silk??

On March 7th I pointed out that due to Massachusetts having some 154,000 people stuck in health insurance limbo, they've been granted some sort of temporary extension, twice...out to as far as June 30th in some cases...

Minnesota issues yet another "mini-update" exact numbers or breakout, but QHPs were around 34,942 as of 3/17 while Medicaid was at 90,062 so it's up from around 125K to 128K in only 3 days. Assuming a 25/75 QHP/Medicaid split (down from 28/72?), that would bring Minnesota up to around 35,750 QHPs and 92,250 Medicaid.

This would also suggest that Minnesota's March QHP rate is running about 60% higher than February, up from 50% a few days earlier. (see update below)

As of today, more than 1,000 enrollment opportunities have been organized by certified MNsure navigators during the month of March; and more than 128,000 Minnesotans have enrolled in health insurance coverage through MNsure. 32% of Qualified Health Plan enrollments are from people through age 34. 16% are from the “young invincible” target of 26 – 34 year olds.

This afternoon I'll be a panel guest on the nationally syndicated NPR show "To the Point with Warren Olney".

I'm told that the show will be recorded at 2pm eastern, but it actually airs at different times in different cities. The live feed will be available via Public Radio International's website. The podcast will be available at KCRW 89.9 FM's website after 4pm eastern.

If you want to listen via the actual radio (imagine that!) here's the syndication station list for various cities.

UPDATE: OK, show's over...

The podcast itself should be available for download by around 4:00pm Eastern.