Fire up the Wayback Machine, Sherman:

May 12, 2016:

Health Insurer Aetna Inc on Wednesday said it plans to continue its Obamacare health insurance business next year in the 15 states where it now participates, and may expand to a few additional states.

"We have submitted rates in all 15 states where we are participating and have no plans at this point to withdraw from any of them," said company spokesman Walt Cherniak. But he noted that a final determination would hinge on binding agreements being signed with the states in September.

Aetna sells the individual coverage on exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. By also filing proposed rates in several other states, Aetna said it had preserved its options to participate in them as well next year. It declined to identify the potential new markets.

The 15 states where it currently participates are Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

via the Nevada Health Link...

Special Enrollment Period through Nevada Health Link begins February 15

  • Uninsured Nevadans will have 90 more days to enroll in a qualified health plan for 2021 coverage

Nevada Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace operated by the state agency, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange), begins its 90-day Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for uninsured Nevadans, starting February 15 through May 15, 2021. The SEP is in accordance with the Executive Order issued by President Biden last month, in response to the ongoing national health emergency presented by COVID-19.

Those who've only started visiting my blog or following me on Twitter recently may be under the impression that I know everything there is to know about the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, simply because I never shut up about it.

Those who've been following my work since I launched the site know the truth: Until October 2013, I didn't know that much more about the ACA than the average person.

Don't get me wrong: I had been following the ACA saga since the 2008 Democratic primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and was watching the legislative progress grind along throughout 2009 - 2010...but I was doing so mostly from a distance. I didn't have a deep understanding of the details of either the legislation or the political process happening behind the scenes.

(sigh) After seven years of doing this, you'd think I'd know better: I double-checked the Your Health Idaho website as recently as this morning and saw no announcement of a COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period...and yet look what just showed up in my inbox an hour ago...

Your Health Idaho Announces Special Enrollment Period for Uninsured Idahoans

  • Idaho’s Health Insurance Marketplace will Reopen March 1 

BOISE, Idaho – Your Health Idaho announced today that a Special Enrollment Period will be established from March 1 to March 31. During this time, any eligible uninsured Idahoan can sign up for health insurance coverage.

“As we approach the one-year mark of COVID-19 in Idaho, too many Idahoans are still uninsured and in need of coverage,” said Your Health Idaho Executive Director, Pat Kelly. “Reopening the marketplace and providing Idahoans with a path to comprehensive health insurance is simply the right thing to do.” 

With this announcement, Your Health Idaho joins all state-based marketplaces and the federal marketplace in offering a Special Enrollment Period as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt across the country.

*(Yes, believe it or not, I was able to come up with an extreme example of an older couple in Oklahoma managing to save a jaw-dropping $64,000/year in heath insurance premiums if the American Rescue Plan is passed, signed and implemented.)

When President Biden announced that HealthCare.Gov would be re-launching an extended Special Enrollment Period in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I wasn't surprised at all; in fact, I would have been shocked if he hadn't ordered the HHS Dept. to do so. I was surprised by how long the new COVID Enrollment Period would be: A full 3 months (I had been expecting either 30, 45 or perhaps 60 days at the outside).

The more I thought about it, however, I realized three good reasons to re-open HC.gov all the way out until mid-May. The first two I already wrote about several weeks ago:

A picture is worth 1,000 words and all that.

I've done my best to label every state/territory, which obviously isn't easy to do for most of them given how tangled it gets in the middle. For cases per capita, the most obvious point is that New York and New Jersey, which towered over every other state last spring, are now utterly dwarfed by North & South Dakota, although things are getting pretty horrible everywhere now.

1 out of every 8 residents of North & South Dakota's entire populations have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past year.

Rhode Island is up to over 1 out of every 9 residents.

Utah, Tennessee, Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas and Nebraska are up to 1 out of every 10 residents.

41 states have seen at least 1 out of every 15 residents test positive.

EVERY state except Washington, Oregon, Maine, Hawaii & Vermont (along with 4 U.S. territories) have now surpassed 1 out of every 20 residents having tested positive.

The data below comes from the GitHub data repositories of Johns Hopkins University, except for Utah, which comes from the GitHub data of the New York Times due to JHU not breaking the state out by county but by "region" for some reason.

I've made some more changes:

  • Every county except those in Alaska lists the 2020 Biden/Trump partisan lean; Alaska still uses the 2016 Clinton/Trump results. I define a "Swing District" as one where the difference between Biden & Trump was less than 6.0%. FWIW, there's just 188 swing districts (out of over 3,100 total), with around 33.8 million Americans out of 332 million total, or roughly 10.2% of the U.S. population.
  • For the U.S. territories, Puerto Rico only includes the case breakout, not deaths, which are unavailable by county equivalent for some reason.

With these updates in mind, here's the top 100 counties ranked by per capita COVID-19 cases as of Friday, February 12th, 2021 (click image for high-res version).

Blue = Joe Biden won by more than 6 points; Orange = Donald Trump won by more than 6 points; Yellow = Swing District

This was already announced earlier, but here's the formal press release with some more details for Minnesota residents:

MNsure three-month special enrollment period begins Tuesday

  • Interested Minnesotans should visit MNsure.org to learn more

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Starting Tuesday, MNsure, Minnesota's health insurance marketplace, will open a three-month special enrollment period. During this time, any Minnesotan who is not currently enrolled in a plan through MNsure, including those who are uninsured, can take advantage of this enrollment opportunity. MNsure's special enrollment period runs from Tuesday, February 16, to Monday, May 17. Those who enroll in a plan during the special enrollment period will have coverage that begins on the first of the following month. For example, Minnesotans who select a plan and enroll in February will have a March 1 start date.

via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid:

2021 Special Enrollment Period for Marketplace Coverage Starts on HealthCare.gov Monday, February 15

  • SEP allows consumers to enroll in affordable health coverage during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

 Today, in accordance with the Executive Order signed by President Biden, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing that the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the Health Insurance Marketplace® will officially be available to consumers in the 36 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform on Monday, February 15, and will continue through Saturday, May 15. At least 13 States plus the District of Columbia, which operate their own Marketplace platforms, have decided to offer a similar opportunity.

DC Health Link, the District of Columbia's ACA exchange, has released a new 2021 Open Enrollment report, and while the numbers aren't surprising, they're also a bit fuzzy for a couple of reasons.

Officially, the new report states that 19,997 DC residents selected an individual market ACA exchange plan, up just 65 people over last year's 19,932 (+0.3%). However, there's several factors which make this a bit misleading:

Five weeks ago the Maryland Health Connection announced they were re-opening ACA enrollment through March 15th in light of the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.

When the Biden Administration announced a few weeks later that the federal ACA exchange, HealthCare.Gov, was planning on re-opening enrollment across 36 states for a full 3 months (from Februay 15th - May 15th), however, I was pretty sure that it would only be a matter of time before most of the state-based exchanges matched up with that time window...and sure enough, via the MD Health Connection:

GOV. HOGAN ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF STATE HEALTH INSURANCE SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD UNTIL MAY 15

A couple of weeks ago I reported that the Washington Healthplan Finder was the one of the first state-based ACA exchanges to announce their own COVID19 Special Enrollment Period to coincide with the federal one being launched via HealthCare.Gov.

At the time, I wrote:

Washington State's appears to be for anyone who'd otherwise be eligible during Open Enrollment, which amounts to the same thing as full Open Enrollment. That means even those who are already enrolled in an ACA exchange plan will be able to switch to a different plan mid-year.

Well, so much for that; the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has issued a new press release ahead of the February 15th COVID SEP launch clarifying who's eligible and who isn't:

New Special Enrollment Period for Health Coverage Opens February 15

 

Nearly six years ago:

In other words, only about 10% (at most) of those still in the Medicaid Gap could remotely match the GOP's cliche of a "lazy, good-for-nothing layabout" type who's able-bodied, has no serious extenuating circumstances and so forth. The "get off your ass and work!" requirements appear to be nearly as big a waste of time and resources as the infamous "drug testing for welfare recipients" bandwagon which a bunch of states jumped on board over the past few years.

With this press release from AccessHealth CT, 49 states +DC have now announced some sort of 2021 COVID-19 Enrollment Period:

ACCESS HEALTH CT ANNOUNCES A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR UNINSURED RESIDENTS DUE TO ONGOING PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

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