Maryland Health Connection

via Maryland Health Connection:


  • Shop and enroll in a health plan for coverage in January

(BALTIMORE) — Marylanders have two weeks left to enroll in health coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2022 on the state’s health insurance marketplace, Maryland Health Connection.

This year, open enrollment through Maryland Health Connection runs a month longer than in recent years. Maryland residents can enroll in a private health insurance plan until Jan. 15, 2022. Those who enroll by Dec. 31, 2021, will have coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2022. Anyone who enrolls during the first two weeks of January will have coverage beginning Feb. 1, 2022.

“New federal and state laws offer financial help for those who did not qualify in the past,” said Michele Eberle, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. “More than three-quarters of those who already have enrolled qualified for savings on their 2022 plans.”

Your Health Idaho Logo

via Your Health Idaho:

Final Deadline for Health Insurance in Idaho is December 22

  • Final Deadline for Health Insurance in Idaho is December 22
  • Final days for Idahoans to apply for 2022 coverage

BOISE, Idaho – Idahoans looking to find 2022 health insurance coverage still have a few days left to enroll through the state health insurance exchange, Your Health Idaho. Idahoans who do not have benefits through their employer and are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare can enroll in private coverage through the exchange.

After extending the original deadline from Dec. 15, exchange officials are urging Idahoans to apply for the monthly health insurance tax credit and make their final plan selection by 11:59 p.m. (MT) on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

Your Health Idaho extended the original deadline by one week, citing increased demand and longer processing times due to staffing challenges.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Methodology reminders:

  • I go by county residents who have received the 2nd COVID-19 shot only (or 1st in the case of the J&J vaccine).
    • (data for 3rd/booster shots aren't available at the county level in most states yet)
  • I base my percentages on the total population via the 2020 U.S. Census as opposed to adults only or those over 11 years old (or even over 4 years old).

Here's the weekly look at the rate of COVID-19 cases & deaths at the county level since the end of June, broken out by partisan lean (i.e, what percent of the vote Donald Trump received in 2020).

As always:

The partisan ratio of case rates are now running 2.4x higher per capita in the reddest tenth of the country than the bluest tenth, down from 3.0x higher in late October:

Get Covered NJ Logo

This just in via the New Jersey Dept. of Banking & Insurance:

NJDOBI Announces More Than 285K Signed Up for Health Insurance through Get Covered New Jersey, As Consumers Take Advantage of Record Levels of Financial Help

  • Total signups up over 25 percent, with an additional 60k plan selections compared to this time last year
  • Two weeks before critical deadline to enroll in coverage starting January 1st

TRENTON — Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride today announced that more than 285,000 New Jerseyans are signed up for a 2022 health insurance plan through Get Covered New Jersey so far during the three-month Open Enrollment Period that started November 1st, as consumers take advantage of record levels of financial help available through the American Rescue Plan and increased and expanded state subsidies. Total signups are up over 25 percent, with an additional 60,000 health plan selections compared to this time last year.

CMS Logo

I haven't written much about the ACA's Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) program this year. Here's a very simplified explainer:

Ever since the ACA went into effect in 2011 (3 years before newly-sold policies had to be ACA compliant), to help reduce price gouging, insurance carriers have been required to spend a minimum of 80% of their premium revenue (85% for the large group market) on actual medical claims.

Put another way, their gross margins are limited to no more than 20% (or 15% in the large group market). Remember, that's their gross margin, not net; all operational expenses must come out of that 20% (15%). The idea is that they should be spending as much of your premium dollars as possible on actual healthcare, as opposed to junkets to Tahiti or marble staircases in the corporate offices, etc. Anything over that 20% (15%) gross margin has to be rebated to the policyholder.

Access Health CT Logo

Via Access Health CT's News/Press Releases page:

Stats as of December 17, 2021 (Updated every Friday during Open Enrollment)

Qualified Health Plans (QHP):

  • QHP Enrollment In 2022 Coverage: 104,085
  • 2022 OE Acquisition Summary: 11,961


  • Completed applications/redeterminations processed through the integrated eligibility system: 15,854

I'm not entirely sure what the 11,961 figure refers to. I think it's already counted as part of the 104,085 figure, but I could be wrong.

Last year's final OEP enrollment tally for Connecticut was 104,946 QHP selections, which they've come within 1% of breaking with a full month left to go.

kynect logo

This one isn't surprising; via kynect:

Enrollment Period Deadline Extension

​Natural Disaster and Technical Issues

Due to the December 11th natural disaster throughout the Commonwealth and reports of technical issues during Open Enrollment, a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for kynect health coverage is now available to impacted residents.

A Special Enrollment Period allows enrollment dates to be extended or added. Prior to this Special Enrollment Period announcement, the deadline to enroll for a Qualified Health Plan with coverage starting January 1st, 2022 was December 15th, 2021.

The Special Enrollment Period will be granted for citizens with the following circumstances:

  • ​​​​Any person who attests that their ability to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan was affected by severe weather in December 2021.
  • ​​ ​​​​​Any person who attests that they encountered system errors, including long wait times with the call center, that prevented them from enrolling in a Qualified Health Plan prior to December 15th, 2021.​​​

Taking the Special Enrollment Period

Cover ME Logo

This just in via, Maine's new state-based ACA exchange: Open Enrollment Update: November 1- December 11

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of the Health Insurance Marketplace (OHIM) today released an update on plan selections through, Maine’s new Health Insurance Marketplace.

OHIM will continue to post updates every two weeks throughout open enrollment, which began on November 1, 2021 and ends on January 15, 2022.

Since the start of open enrollment through December 11 on

CMS Logo

As I explained back in 2018, the Trump Administration seriously gutted the ACA's Navigator program:

The Trump administration is considering cutting funding for ObamaCare outreach groups that help people enroll in coverage, sources say.

An initial proposal by the administration would have cut the funding for the groups, known as "navigators," from $36 million last year to $10 million this year. Sources say that proposal now could be walked back, and it is possible funding could remain the same as last year, but it is unclear where the final number will end up.

...Officials announced it would cut funding from $63 million down to $36 million in August 2017, a move that was decried by Democrats.

Thankfully, last summer, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that they were reversing this by massively re-expanding the program including a significant budget increase: