On the one hand, yes, I blew it this year: This is almost exactly 2.0 million fewer than the 14.7 million I originally projected for this year.
HOWEVER, as I've noted many times before, this isn't an apples to apples comparison, because that 12.7 million is after subtracting a minimum of 300,000 cancelled plans (pre-purging). The first two years, any plan cancellations during open enrollment weren't subtracted until after the dust settled; this year, due to improved backend software, CMS was able to purge/remove most cancelled plans from HC.gov on the fly.
In other words, an apples to apples comparison of the actual grand total of QHP selections vs. the same figure last year is at least 13.0 million (actually somewhat higher, since CMS hasn't released the total number of "pre-purges").
Well, it's around 7pm EST on Sunday, 1/31/16. As of this writing, HealthCare.Gov is loading quickly, as are all 13 of the state-based exchange websites. Aside from a "high call volume" message at Covered California and "extended call center hour" messages from CoveredCA and various other SBMs, I'm not seeing any evidence of website server load strain, etc.
In fact, the only "overtime/extension period" announcements so far are from the Maryland Health Connection and Covered California, which each announced official "In Line By Midnight" extensions for those who start their enrollment process by midnight tonight.
This is only appearing on the home page of the Massachusetts exchange website, but the wording of it suggests that it applies to all of the state-based exchanges.
Yeeks. Don't be surprised if there's a few more #ACAOvertime announcements after all....
UPDATE 10:50pm: Hmmm...it's been over an hour and no other state exchange websites are reporting any problems, nor have I seen any Tweets or Facebook posts which indicate any outages.
All websites including HC.gov are still loading smoothly.
UPDATE MIDNIGHT: Welp, that's that, at least for the Atlantic and Eastern Time Zones. *Central, Mountain West and Pacific still have a bit to go, and of course Alaska and Hawaii are 5 hours behind, but I've gotta get some sleep myself...
I assume there'll be some sort of rough tally announcement tomorrow, but all eyes will be on the Iowa Caucuses anyway, so there you go.
A few hours from now, CMS should be releasing the HealthCare.Gov Week 12 Snapshot report. As noted last week, the "pre-purge" factor has completely messed up my projection model this year, since the numbers for weeks 1-10 could have been lopped down by several hundred thousand people (nearly 250K of which were confirmed to have happened in Week 11 alone). While the purge numbers for the previous 10 weeks were likely much smaller, it still screws up my methodology.
As a result, my original projection for this week of around 400,000 QHP selections has an important caveat: It depends greatly on how whether that number includes the purged/cancelled enrollments or not:
The national total was around 11.50 million QHP selections as of January 9th. Since I won't know how big of a difference the "Live Purge!" factor is making until well after the end of March (when the Q1 effectuation report comes out), I still have to work within the confines of how CMS has been reporting enrollments this season.
With that in mind, I've dropped my end-of-OE3 projection down from 14.7 million to somewhere between 13.8 - 14.2 million (call it 14.0 million even for simplicity).
In order to hit 14.0 million total, 2.5 million people will have to enroll in the final 3 weeks, most likely broken out something like:
As I noted last week, I'm expecting today's HC.gov Week 10 Snapshot Report to announce around 130,000 additional QHP selections between 1/03/16 - 1/09/16, which would bring the HC.gov total up around 8.74 million. This would also likely bring the national total up to around 11.55 million.