Just in via Covered California:

Covered California Begins New Year With a Record Number of Plan Selections, Serving Those Hardest Hit by the Pandemic, as State Experiences Post-Holiday Surge of New COVID-19 Cases

via KOLO 8:

New law clearly separates short term limited medical plans from Health Link

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Broker Alex Sampson is busy these days helping local residents connect with a health insurance program through Nevada Health Link.

But just seven days ago, a new law went into effect here in Nevada which may make the process less confusing for consumers looking for health care insurance coverage on their own.

The law impacts short term limited health medical plans. These are plans which provide very limited coverage for one year only to customers and could be confused with policies on Health Link.

“They are being advertised as extremely affordable plans,” says Janel Davis, Health Link Communications Officer. “But again when they go to use those plans and they go to the hospital for example, what they are finding out; what they need health wise is not covered,” says Davis.

Needless to say, it's been difficult to focus too much on healthcare issues the past few days.

In addition, it's not like the deadly invasion, occupation & attempted coup attempt of the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob incited by the President of the United States himself has a whole lot of healthcare policy side stories, unless you're talking about the entire incident also being a COVID-19 superspreader event, what sort of healthcare coverage the dozens of injured police officers have or whether eye injuries due to being maced are covered by healthcare policies.

However, this breaking announcement seems to fit the bill. via Rachana Pradhan of Kaiser Health News, on Twitter:

Whoa: the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose companies provide health insurance to 100+ million Americans across the country, is suspending political contributions to members of Congress who objected to the Electoral College count. Statement below:

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:

  • I've now completed updating the partisan lean for every county except Alaska to the 2020 Biden/Trump results. Alaska still uses the Clinton/Trump 2016 results, although I can't imagine more than one or two regions changed status there this year.
  • I've also added columns listing the actual Biden/Trump vote percentage for each county to give a feel for how partisan it is. Again, I'm defining "Swing District" as any county where the difference is less than 6.0%. There's 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.
  • I've also added all U.S. territories, including a county-equivalent breakout for Puerto Rico, as well as American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. None of these vote in the general Presidential election, of course, but I'm still tracking their COVID-19 case & death rates. None show up in the top 100 of either ranking, however. Note that Puerto Rico only includes the case breakout, not deaths, which are unavailable for some reason.

With these updates in mind, here's the top 100 counties ranked by per capita COVID-19 cases as of Friday, January 8th, 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

via the Washington Health Benefit Exchange:

Record number of Washingtonians secured health insurance coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder in 2020

In a year defined by a health crisis, 2020 saw more than two million Washingtonians enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) and Qualified Health Plans. This is a new record high number of individuals and families obtaining health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder, the online portal administered by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange). Over 1 in 4 Washingtonians are using Washington Healthplanfinder to find and enroll in health coverage. Open enrollment for 2021 coverage runs through Jan. 15 of this year with coverage starting Feb. 1.

Approximately two million residents received free or low-cost Apple Health coverage, and the remaining 215,000 enrolled in Qualified Health Plans. This past December saw an average of 1,500 individuals a day enrolled in Apple Health.

Access Health CT, Connecticut's state-based ACA exchange, has updated their enrollment summary and now reports 102,704 residents have selected policies for 2021, including 16,764 new enrollees.

Last year they had a total of 107,833 QHP selections during Open Enrollment, which they're 4.8% away from breaking.

Connecticut residents still have until January 15th to #GetCovered via AccessHealthCT.com.

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.

North Dakota has broken 12.3% of the entire population having tested positive, or nearly 1 out of every 8 residents.

South Dakota is up to 11.5%, or more than 1 out of every 9 residents.

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

via Connect for Health Colorado:

Colorado Sees 9% Increase in Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollments Ahead of Jan. 15 Deadline

DENVER — A year-over-year comparison shows Connect for Health Colorado enrollments are currently trending 9 percent higher. Nearly 172,000 people so far have signed up for a health insurance plan through the state’s official marketplace, surpassing last year’s Open Enrollment Period total of 166,850 sign ups.

Hmmm...172,000 is actually only 3.1% higher than 166,850, but I'm assuming they mean it's 9% higher than the number of 2020 enrollments as of January 6th. A 9% final increase would require a final 1/15 tally of around 181,866, so they'll need to tack on another 10,000 or so in the final 9 days.

But there is still time to enroll. With the Jan. 15, 2021 enrollment deadline approaching, Coloradans have just over a week left to choose a plan for coverage that will start Feb. 1.

via NY State of Health:

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 06, 2021) – NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace, wants New Yorkers to know it is not too late to get health insurance coverage for 2021, even if they have missed the December 31 enrollment deadline. The Marketplace is reminding consumers to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) by January 15 for coverage effective February 1. 

“NY State of Health remains steadfast in our commitment to getting uninsured New Yorkers the coverage they deserve,” said NY State of Health Executive Director, Donna Frescatore. “The marketplace continues to provide affordable, comprehensive health care options during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and we encourage anyone who needs health insurance to enroll now.”

The Marketplace offers many quality, low-cost health insurance options, with a choice of insurers in every county. Free enrollment assistors are available by phone to help individuals find the best plan for themselves and their families.

Back on December 16th, Washington State's ACA exchange, the WA Healthplan Finder, reported that they had enrolled 210,000 state residents in 2021 on-exchange individual market policies. With a month left to #GetCovered (WA's Open Enrollment Period (OEP) doesn't end until 1/15), this means the state is very likely to surpass last year's Open Enrollment total of just over 212,000 people.

via the Nevada Health Link:

Nevada Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace operated by the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange), reminds Nevadans that Open Enrollment for a comprehensive, Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant health plan for 2021 ends on Jan. 15, 2021.

As of Jan. 3, 77,900 Nevadans have enrolled to date. That exceeds last year’s enrollment total by nearly 500, and the number is expected to increase with a typical surge prior to the end of Open Enrollment on Jan. 15.

Nevada Health Link is the only place consumers can qualify for subsidies to help offset the cost of monthly premiums, and four out of five Nevadans who purchase a plan on Nevada Health Link qualify for financial assistance (tax credits).

All plans offered through the Exchange cover the ten essential health benefits including pre-existing conditions and all COVID-19-related diagnosis and treatment. Consumers who enroll on or before Jan. 15 will have coverage effective on Feb. 1, 2021.

I can't begin to tell you what a Big Deal® lots of people made this announcement out to be three years ago...without having a clue WTF it was actually about:

Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan Move to Target Health-Care Costs

Three corporate giants are teaming up to combat what billionaire Warren Buffett calls a “hungry tapeworm” feasting on the U.S. economy: health care.

OK, I'm interested...

Just announced moments ago:

As part of the state’s overall response to the coronavirus, and in an effort to prioritize health and safety, Maryland Health Connection opened a new special enrollment period for uninsured Marylanders to enroll in a private health plan. Here’s what you need to know:

When your coverage begins

The coronavirus emergency special enrollment period will begin immediately and ends Monday, March 15. Here are the dates coverage will begin, depending on what day you enrolled in a health plan:

  • Enroll now-Jan. 15, coverage starts Jan.1
  • Enroll Jan. 16-Feb. 15, coverage starts Feb.1
  • Enroll Feb. 16-March 15, coverage starts March.1

How do I enroll?

To enroll, visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or download the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. Select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.”

Access Health CT, Connecticut's state-based ACA exchange, has updated their enrollment summary and now reports 102,190 residents have selected policies for 2021, including 15,310 new enrollees.

Last year they had a total of 107,833 QHP selections during Open Enrollment, which they're 5.2% away from breaking.

Connecticut residents still have until January 15th to #GetCovered via AccessHealthCT.com.

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:

  • I've now completed updating the partisan lean for every county except Alaska to the 2020 Biden/Trump results. Alaska still uses the Clinton/Trump 2016 results, although I can't imagine more than one or two regions changed status there this year.
  • I've also added columns listing the actual Biden/Trump vote percentage for each county to give a feel for how partisan it is. Again, I'm defining "Swing District" as any county where the difference is less than 6.0%. There's 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.
  • I've also added all U.S. territories, including a county-equivalent breakout for Puerto Rico, as well as American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. None of these vote in the general Presidential election, of course, but I'm still tracking their COVID-19 case & death rates. None show up in the top 100 of either ranking, however. Note that Puerto Rico only includes the case breakout, not deaths, which are unavailable for some reason.

With these updates in mind, here's the top 100 counties ranked by per capita COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, December 31st, 2020 (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

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