Yes, I know I just posted a Michigan Medicaid expansion update a few days ago, and the numbers since then are "only" up 4,000 since then, but this story has another important data point. Regular visitors should have noticed that the Medicaid spreadsheet and section of The Graph always seems to be somewhat higher than the CMS's occasional reports on actual Medicaid enrollment. The main reason is that there's a difference between Medicaid determinations and Medicaid enrollments; the HHS and CMS reports, along with the occasional state-level reports, generally only list how many people have been determined to be eligible for Medicaid. There's still a process that they have to go through in order to fully enroll.

Amy Lynn Smith has a great piece over at Eclectablog about the Get Covered America campaign, which is devoted to educating people about the law and helping them enroll:

The task of getting more people insured is never done. That’s why the Get Covered America campaign is kicking off a weekend of action on Friday. While celebrating its one-year anniversary of educating consumers about their new health insurance options, the campaign will be sending volunteers into communities across the country.

In addition, there's a related organization called Young Invincibles (hah!), specifically devoted to educating and assisting young adults (the sought-after 18-34 crowd) in enrolling, particularly during the off-season:

Well slap my ass and call me Susan. Remember that pissing match between Avik Roy and I back in late March over the now-infamous "McKinsey Study" which claimed that only 27% of individual market enrollees since the start of Open Enrollment were "previously uninsured"?

McKinsey itself stated no less than seven times throughout that it included both ON- and OFF-exchange enrollees, and therefore was pretty much useless for trying to figure out how many of the exchange-based QHP enrollees were "previously uninsured", since there was no separation between the two in the data. For all anyone knew at the time, there could have been twice as many off-exchange QHPs as exchange-based ones, and even if it was a 50/50 split, for all anyone knew, it could have been 0% prev. uninsured OFF exchange and 54% prev. uninsured ON the exchange. Basically, it was meaningless for that purpose.

This didn't stop Roy from insisting that...

Yesterday I posted an entry which noted a story published by Avik Roy over at Forbes about an extensive study by the Manhattan Institute which compared the average insurance policy premiums last year vs. the average premiums this year, after the first ACA open enrollment period. Roy's piece breathlessly claims "Obamacare Increased 2014 Individual-Market Premiums By Average Of 49%"

I wrote a response piece which also included the HHS report about ACA subsidies covering an average of 76% of the premium cost for the Federal marketplace, but I didn't really have time to do a full analysis of the Forbes piece. However, I did note 4 major points which lept out at me right off the bat:

As of the end of the open enrollment period (4/19), New Jersey's exchange QHP total stood at 161,775; this hasn't been updated officially since. Their Medicaid enrollee tally was updated to 201,095 as of 5/30. That means that the combined total is up around 37,000.

The QHP/Medicaid ratio is tricky to estimate, not just because it isn't provided but because of the differing dates. However, I'll assume for now that NJ's off-season QHP rate has been running at around 20% of the total enrollment period rate of about 800 per day; that would make it 160/day, or 9,400 QHPs plus another 27,600 Medicaid enrollees:

The federal government reported in May that 161,775 Jerseyans bought insurance policies on the Marketplace since launched Oct. 1. The health insurers, however, are reporting enrollment numbers that exceed the government’s numbers. And experts predict those numbers will rise, since individuals whose health insurance policies don’t comply with ACA rules will be able to buy new policies on through 2014 as their old policies expire.

Total since October 1, 2013

  • 32,654 Applications completed in the Individual Marketplace
  • 9,528 Individuals and families enrolled in the Individual Marketplace
  • 637 Employers applied to SHOP Marketplace
  • 861 Employees and dependents enrolled via SHOP Marketplace

The DC exchange has always been a bit of an anomaly: It's one of only 2 exchanges where SHOP enrollments exceed QHPs (the other is Vermont), mainly because the ACA requires Congressional staffers to enroll via the DC SHOP exchange instead of their home states or even the DC QHP side. As a result, as of April 30th (the most recent update), the breakdown was 11,106 QHP's (25%), 13,230 SHOP (30%) and 20,497 Medicaid enrollees (45%). Add them up and you get 44,833 total.

As contributor deaconblues notes, the QHP number seems to be almost identical, so the bulk of the 3,200 additional enrollments are broken out between Medicaid and SHOP enrollees. I'll assume a 70/30 split until better data is made available.

A spokeswoman for DC Health Link said this week that reports of problems, “if true, were isolated incidents.” She noted that the exchange has enrolled more than 48,000 individuals and families; about 11,000 are enrolled in private plans.

In my previous entry, I added a comparison of my own families' old & new policy costs as an addition at the bottom of the article. However, I decided to move it to a new one for two reasons: First, after discussing the provisions of both policies with my wife some more, it turns out I was wrong about a few things; secondly, I've had quite a few people asking about my own experience (especially given my recent shingles outbreak), so I figured it was worthy of a separate entry.

The Washington Post reports today about a new report issued by the HHS Dept. which states that the average premium rate for those who enrolled via the Federal ACA exchange were cut by 76% thanks to the subsidies in the law:

The Americans who qualify for tax credits through the new federal insurance exchange are paying an average of $82 a month in premiums for their coverage — about one-fourth the bill they would have faced without such financial help, according to a new government analysis.

OK, I don't do business endorsements or paid promotions, but this is kind of a special case: 15 years ago today I co-founded my "day job" running Brainwrap Web Design.

By website development standards, that makes me an Old Man in the industry. I ran Brainwrap with an old college friend for the first year; we hit a slow patch and he decided to move on to a more stable corporate position elsewhere, selling his half of the business to me.

I ran the company by myself for another 13 years, until my wife (who had 20+ years of experience in corporate IT programming and management) started working with me. Her assistance was especially helpful during the ACA open enrollment period and my bout with Shingles, during which she took some of our normal site development work off my hands while I scrambled to keep up with the ever-changing enrollment data, so she deserves a lot of the credit for this site as well.