Yesterday, in my Big Exclusive Post® about the number of people currently enrolled in exchange QHPs appearing to have dropped down to a bit below 7 million, I noted that based on the 15 states for which I have current enrollment data from September or October (plus 1, Oklahoma, from August), it looks like the national total is right around 7 million on the nose at the moment. However, if you throw Florida into the mix, it drops noticeably, making it look more like 6.8 million.
I also noted that there are two problems with the Florida data: First, that it's had significantly more dropoff (22.5%) from the official April figure than any of the other states listed (with the exception of Nevada, which has had its own technical headaches to the point that it's dropping its exchange entirely).
Even more problematic is that this 22.5% "drop" was supposedly only as of June 30th (it comes from Florida's 2015 policy rate request filing report from the insurance companies operating on the federal exchange).
This makes Florida an incredible outlier; take another look at the chart:
There are two threads of conventional wisdom heading into Tuesday's midterm election. The first is that the election doesn't much matter. Regardless which party controls the Senate, President Barack Obama will still occupy the White House, which means gridlock will remain, if not escalate. The second is that, when it comes to Obamacare, the status quo will remain in place for at least the next two years. Senate Republicans may push for repeal votes. But Obama will veto them. Smaller reforms may pass. But the law will mostly remain intact.
Thanks to the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt, who linked to a PDF from the Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board. This report has data which has made the news twice already: First, because of the 13.2% "weighted average" premium increase for the state (which has come under fire for "weighting" based on projected membership instead of current membership), and secondly because of the exchange QHP enrollment number in June, which is 22.5% lower than the 4/19 total (but which, as I've already shown, isn't nearly as bad as right-wing outlets like the Daily Caller are claiming).
Levitt has noted a third interesting data point in this report:
Two-thirds of those buying their own insurance in Florida are now in ACA-compliant plans. http://t.co/JYVo1UXkvf
Florida Obamacare Enrollment Total Plummets By A Quarter
Florida’s Obamacare enrollment is now over 220,000 lower than the Obama administration’s most recent tally, according to a report from the state insurance department.
The Obama administration hasn’t released updated Obamacare enrollment statistics since May, when the Department of Health and Human Services put the number of Florida sign-ups at 983,775 — but the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation says that now, just 762,723 Floridians have health insurance through the exchange.
OK, stop right there. Yes, it's true that the most-recent HHS report had enrollments at 983,775, but that was as of April 19th, not "May". Minor error, I agree, but important in the context of what we're talking about there. OK, go on...
TALLAHASSEE — Last year, legislators allocated $900,000 to help Floridians find affordable health care through a new state-backed website.
At the same time, they refused to expand Medicaid or work with the federal government to offer subsidized insurance plans.
Six months after the launch of the state's effort, called Florida Health Choices (floridahealthchoices.net), just 30 people have signed up. Another seven plans were canceled either because consumers changed their minds or didn't pay for services.
Floridians who buy health insurance on the individual market for next year will face an average increase of 13.2 percent in their monthly premiums, according to rate proposals unveiled Monday by the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation.
Of the 11 returning plans, eight filed average rate increases ranging from 11 to 23 percent, and three filed rate decreases ranging from 5 to 12 percent, the state’s insurance regulator reported.
Well this one came out of nowhere...it doesn't seem to be an April Fool's joke. It makes little sense, however...why would FL's be extend to 4/30 when the other 35 Federal-Exchange-run states are all cut off at 4/15? And what's with the April 7th "paper" application bit? Weirdness.
The open enrollment period for health insurance coverage for Floridians under the Affordable Care Act is extended through April 30 for people whose paper applications are received by April 7.
UPDATE: On the down side, I was off by 4% this time around.
On the up side, I UNDERESTIMATED:
Actual Feb. enrollments: 942,833, for a total of 4,242,325 thru 3/01/14.
Sarah Kliff at Vox just announced that the February HHS report is expected to be released today at around 4:00pm. A few items in anticipation of that:
As I've noted several times, I'm projecting the report to total around 902,000 exchange-based private QHP enrollments for the month of February (technically 2/02 - 3/01)
If accurate, this would bring the cumulative total of exchange-based private QHP enrollments to 4.202 million (from 10/1/13 - 3/01/14)
From the data I have, the average daily enrollment rate in February was almost identical to that of January, which had about 1.146 million QHP enrollments. HOWEVER, the January report included five weeks of data (12/28 - 2/01), while the February report will only include four weeks (2/02 - 3/01). Therefore, even at the same daily average, it'll be about 20% lower no matter what.
If you want to get REALLY specific, call it 902,800 and 4,202,292.
I've been dead-on target 6 times in a row without hyping up my projections beforehand. This time I am hyping myself up beforehand, so I'll probably be way off...but as long as I've UNDERestimated the tally, I'll be perfectly fine with that...
The report will be released in about 5 minutes, but my kid gets home from school in about 10, so it'll be a good 20 minutes before I can really post anything. Feel free to follow Sarah Kliff of Vox in the meantime!