OE8

A couple of weeks ago, I used the COVID Special Enrollment Period (SEP) data I had for HealthCare.Gov through the end of March, combined with limited SEP data from some state-based ACA exchanges, to extrapolate out a rough estimate of how many new Qualified Health Plan (QHP) selections may have happened since the new "Spring 2021 Special Enrollment Period" was launched on February 15th, 2021.

At the time, I estimated that perhaps 15,800 people per day on average had newly enrolled in ACA exchange policies as of the end of March, or roughly 710,000 nationally. This included the 528,000 confirmed enrollees via HealthCare.Gov, plus another 183,000 or so via the 15 state-based exchanges.

via Get Covered NJ:

Good news! More financial help is now available through Get Covered New Jersey

New Federal and State Savings

The federal government recently passed a COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. The new law will reduce health insurance premiums by providing more financial help to eligible consumers who purchase a plan through Get Covered New Jersey. The State of New Jersey is also providing more financial help to lower health insurance costs for residents enrolling at Get Covered New Jersey.

More people than ever will qualify for financial help. If you did not qualify for financial help before because your income was too high, you may qualify under the state and federal changes. If you already receive financial help, you will likely be eligible for additional premium reductions. These new changes make coverage more affordable at many income levels.

This was apparently decided awhile ago (there was no press release), but I just learned about it today thanks to Louise Norris:

Nevada’s Response to Coronavirus

Nevada Health Link opened a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for uninsured Nevadans, starting February 15 through August 15, 2021. The SEP is in accordance with the Executive Order issued by President Biden last month, in response to the ongoing national emergency presented by COVID-19.

  • Coming soon! Thanks to the recently passed American Rescue Plan, we’ll soon be offering more money to help pay for your coverage. Learn more here.

Visit here to learn more.

Nice catch by Andrew Sprung. Via the NJ Dept. of Banking & Insurance:

EXTENSION OF COVID-19 SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD

On January 29, 2021, the Department of Banking and Insurance (“Department”) issued Bulletin No. 21-03 advising carriers and other interested parties that an emergency COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period (“COVID-19 SEP”) would go into effect on February 1, 2021 and extend through May 15, 2021. The COVID-19 SEP ensured that New Jersey residents have access to quality affordable health insurance during a critical time in which the need to protect public health is paramount. Specifically, the COVID-19 SEP made sure that individual market coverage was available to uninsured individuals during the pandemic. It also aligned New Jersey with the Federal Special Enrollment Period which runs through May 15, 2021 and the Federal Public Health Emergency.

A couple of weeks ago, I used the limited COVID Special Enrollment Period (SEP) data I had for HealthCare.Gov from the last two weeks of February, plus some limited SEP data from a handful of state-based ACA exchanges, to extrapolate out a rough estimate of how many new Qualified Health Plan (QHP) selections may have happened nationally.

At the time, I estimated that perhaps 18,500 people were enrolling per day nationally the final two weeks of February, and that IF that pace remained the same throughout the entire month of March, it would amount to upwards of 832,000 new people enrolling by the end of March (666,000 via HealthCare.Gov, plus another 166,000 via the 15 state-based exchanges).

It's important to note that this wasn't a hard estimate--I was pretty sure that the actual enrollment pace would slow down somewhat after the inital surge, at least until expanded subsidies via the American Rescue Plan (ARP) were officially available in most states, which didn't happen until April 1st.

via Nevada Health Link:

The Division of Insurance (“Division”) encourages all Nevadans to take advantage of the new saving opportunities offered by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”). The ARPA, enacted earlier this month, creates more opportunities for Nevadans to save on health insurance coverage.

“I urge consumers, especially those who have off-exchange plans, have no insurance or have found themselves uninsured to start thinking now about how they can benefit from this new law because certain benefits in the ARPA have deadlines,” said Insurance Commissioner Barbara Richardson. “Each month that a consumer does not take advantage of these new low or no cost opportunities, they are leaving money on the table.”

The ARPA will lower monthly premium costs; increase subsidy eligibility for consumers making above the 400% of the Federal Poverty Level; provide options for people who are on unemployment for $0 premium plans; and it will provide 100% COBRA subsidy for six months.

Your Health Idaho, which had been scheduled to end their COVID-19 Enrollment Period on March 31st, has understandably extended the deadline out by another month in light of the American Rescue Plan's expanded/enhanced subsidies. Via email:

Enhanced Subsidies Go into Effect at Your Health Idaho April 1

Your Health Idaho Continues to Enroll Idahoans through April 30, 2021

BOISE, Idaho –Your Health Idaho, the state insurance exchange, will remain open throughout the month of April so Idahoans can take advantage of enhanced financial assistance, which lowers consumer’s monthly premiums. 

For the first time ever, tax credits, which act like an instant discount, may be available for those who were not previously eligible and will be increased for Idahoans who already receive them. For some Idahoans, these savings can be significant. For example, a Treasure Valley married couple in their 20s making $50,000 a year could pay less than $10 a month and a family of four making $105,000 could pay as little as $200 a month.

via New York State of Health:

How NY State of Health Enrollees Benefit from the American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021, will lower health care costs by providing new and expanded financial assistance to New Yorkers enrolling in health insurance through NY State of Health. This enhanced assistance is available to current enrollees and new enrollees, including to higher-income individuals for the first time. Starting in early April, individuals with low and moderate incomes can access higher tax credits. Starting in June, NY State of Health will apply these higher tax credits to current enrollees without requiring any action by the enrollee. Also in June, higher-income New Yorkers can access the new tax credits.

The information on this page is organized into six sections. Click the section from the following list to learn how the American Rescue Plan can help you:

UPDATE 3/16/21: Health Source Rhode Island just released their 2021 OEP report as well; they ended up down around 8% y/y. With that, I now have either the final official enrollment numbers or at least close approximations for all 50 states + DC. The table, graph and text below have been updated accordingly.

With New York State of Health releasing their 2021 Open Enrollment Report data (w/some caveats), I now have official (or semi-official) enrollment data for 49 states and the District of Columbia. The odd man out is Rhode Island...which also happens to be one of the smallest states with the smallest number of ACA enrollments; last year they enrolled around 34,600 people.

There's a few caveats:

  • New York's QHP tally included enrollments through 2/28; the official CMS report will likely cut them off as of 1/31.
  • The numbers for DC, Idaho, Rhode Island and Vermont are estimates...it's possible that the official numbers for each will be slightly lower.
  • Minnesota's total could be a few thousand lower than I have it listed below...there's always a difference of a few thousand between MNsure's reports and CMS's; I'm not sure why.

At the very worst, the official CMS 2021 OEP report will come in at something like 11.98 million or so.

UPDATE 3/16/21: With Rhode Island added, the semi-official tally comes in at just over 12.0 million (12,005,270 QHP selections total). Again, it could drop slightly below that if my estimates for a handful of states are off, but it should be damned close to it.

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