Charles Gaba's blog

Regular readers of this site know that the ACA Signups project started over at Daily Kos. This is the first time I can recall using dKos as a primary source for a story link. I'm sorry to say it's not exactly a flattering one as far as Maryland's ill-fated state exchange is concerned:

Maryland's health exchange website, which is best known for falling to pieces on Oct. 1, will be scrapped after $129 million in spending. In April, the Maryland Health Exchange board voted to adopt Connecticut's web application.

At the time officials refused to say they were junking the Noridian-designed system. It was a just revamping ... right.

However, the state can't transfer data from one system to the other.

The fix? Contact 275,000 Medicaid enrollees -- about 75% of the people on the exchange -- and have them log onto a new system and put their information in again.

A rather depressing end to Nevada's first open enrollment period. The state pushed their extension period far beyond any other state (most states stopped at 4/15; Oregon's was 4/30...Nevada kicked it out another month beyond that to 5/30), and still didn't come close to either their initial target or even my own "fair share" target of 73,000 QHP enrollees:

About 35,700 consumers have purchased insurance coverage through the program. Enrollment is far less than an initial target of 118,000.

(and yes, that 35,700 figure is paid, not total; the total number stood at 47,245 a couple of weeks ago).

Not exactly an earth-shattering update, but Hawaii has, interestingly, managed to increase their SHOP enrollments by over 20% in the past week.

Plus, they, along with Oregon and Minnesota, get kudos from me for continuing regular updates regardless of how minor the changes are. Wish NY, CA and HHS would follow their lead on this topic, at least (obviously not so much the technical side of things...)

Total since October 1, 2013

32,114 Applications completed in the Individual Marketplace
9,414 Individuals and families enrolled in the Individual Marketplace
618 Employers applied to SHOP Marketplace
773 Employees and dependents enrolled via SHOP Marketplace

Nice catch by contributor Esther F....in this article about new parents having a 60-day "Qualifying Life Event" period to add their newborn child to their healthcare plan, there's this bit at the end:

About 164,000 Washington residents enrolled for private health coverage during the last open-enrollment period. About 2,000 or 3,000 have enrolled since then, Frey said.

Those include special enrollments along with “special special” enrollments — people still completing applications because of technical problems, Frey said.

OK, kind of a fuzzy number, but let's split the difference and call it 2,500. That means Washington State has increased their enrollment by about 1.5% since the end of March (WA was one of 2 states--Connecticut was the other one--which did not offer an official extension period). As the article was originally posted on 5/27, the latest the figures could run through is 5/26, so that's about 45 people per day since 3/31. Assuming this pace holds steady, WA should add over 10,000 QHP enrollees to their total by the time the 2nd enrollment period starts on 11/15.

NOTE: I originally posted this back on May 29th, but it seems appropriate to bring it to the front page again given the new ad that McConnell has just started running.

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

Greg Sargent and Glenn Kessler (both at the Washington Post) have sort of tag-team pieces this morning about Mitch McConnell's ongoing verbal gymnastics as he continues to try and say "I will repeal Obamacare completely" and "We should keep Kynect intact" simultaneously, even though "Obamacare" and "Kynect" are both "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

This story out of Connecticut breaks down their Medicaid enrollees using a handy chart and some very specific numbers, giving fairly hard "Strict Expansion" and "Woodworker" updates:

Unsurprisingly, the biggest percentage growth occurred among adults who don’t have minor children. The income limit for people in that category [HUSKY D] to qualify for coverage rose Jan. 1 as part of the federal health law commonly known as Obamacare, from 56 percent of the poverty level to 138 percent.

...But another portion of the Medicaid program also saw a significant enrollment increase, even though eligibility requirements remained largely unchanged. That portion, known as HUSKY A, covers low-income children and their parents.

...Between the end of September and the end of April, total number of people in HUSKY D rose from 94,058 to 137,260 -- a growth of 43,202 people.

During that time, the number covered by HUSKY A grew by 29,792 people, to 460,103 members.

A big shout-out to Nick Budnick of The Oregonian, who has been all over Cover Oregon's horribly-troubled-but-surprisingly-successful healthcare exchange from the get-go. He just released a big new story which features an extensive breakdown of Oregon's overall individual insurance market, including both on-exchange QHPs, off-exchange QHPs, grandfathered noncompliant plans and even the "small group" ESI market, among other things. Thankfully, all of these numbers are broken out so I'm able to make sense of them.

Add another 10,000 enrollees onto the total. Michigan's ACA Medicaid expansion now stands at 84% of the first-year goal, or 54% of the half-million estimated to be eligible for the program:

Healthy Michigan Plan Enrollment Statistics

Beneficiaries with Healthy Michigan Plan Coverage: 269,473

*Statistics as of May 27, 2014 

When I last checked in on the state of Arkansas' unusual "private Medicaid option" a month ago (which uses Medicaid money to pay for private exchange QHPs...basically a QHP with a 100% subsidy, but still counted as Medicaid instead), the tally stood at around 155,000.

Today, that number has risen another 15,000 people and now stands at over 170K, or over 75% of the 225,000 estimated Arkansas residents eligible for the program:

According to testimony today from the Arkansas Department of Human Services, 170,033 people through the end of April have been deemed eligible and gained coverage under the private option, the state's unique plan using Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance for low-income Arkansans. This likely means that the policy has already made a significant reduction in the rate of uninsurance in the state. The private option has also made the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace as a whole dramatically younger, which could help lead to lower premiums in the future. Details below the jump. 

Huh. The Minnesota exchange just released updated data as of 5/22; this brings another 4 days of numbers into view:

.@MNsure enrollment as of 5/26/14: 127,712 in MA, 46,836 in MinnesotaCare and 50,793 in QHP. Total: 225,341. pic.twitter.com/uDzt8AHqcO

— MNsure (@MNsure) May 27, 2014

OK, so that's another 166 QHPs and 958 more people added to Medicaid in the past 4 days.

MN's off-season QHP rate is now 697 in 34 days, or 20.5 per day. If that holds steady, that's around 615 per month, or around 4,300 more QHPs by the time the 2nd open enrollment period opens on November 15.

Way back on March 21st (wow, that seems like forever ago, doesn't it?), I posted the following towards the end of "The Paid/Unpaid Brouhaha":

So, I'll say this here and now:

Whatever percentage of total exchange-based QHP enrollments still haven't been paid by the policyholder as of May 31st should indeed be subtracted from the official HHS total number, assuming that those non-payments are due to either a) the policyholder bailing/refusing to pay or b) the government-run exchange (not the insurance company's billing system) screwing up.

If the total number ends up being 6.2 million but the non-payments fitting these criteria are 7% as of May 31st, I'll gladly subtract 434,000 from the total. If the total number is 6.5M and the non-payments are 10% as of 5/15, I'll subtract 650,000, and so on.

Well, it's not quite May 31st, but I wanted to make sure to get this blog entry off my chest before June 1st, so I'm giving the Republican Party a 4-day lead time.

OK, according to the March/April HHS report, Colorado's official QHP tally as of 4/19 was 125,402. However, according to the state exchange itself, the tally as of 4/15 (the actual end of open enrollment) was 127,233. I'm not sure whether the difference is due to purging unpaid enrollments, clerical errors on one side or the other or what, but they appear to have added either another 2,919 QHPs between 4/20 - 5/03, or another 1,088 between 4/16 - 5/03, depending on which starting number/date you use:

Reporting Period: 10/1/13 - 5/3/14

  • Covered Lives:
    • Individual: 128,321
    • SHOP: 1,983

 

Sometimes you just have to ask directly:

MNsure Hi Charles - working on that stat now. At last analysis, about 95% of QHP enrollees had paid their first month's premium.

Mr. Brann--

On May 25, 2014 you emailed me with the following request:

I am an insurance agent and in the communities I serve...south texas...San Antonio, Austin, we saw limited demand...so these numbers amaze me...can I advertise on your site...and reference you on my site?

I took a look at your website, and I'm a little confused. According to your site, the healthcare policies you offer are "not Obamacare compliant". There's technically no such thing as "Obamacare"...the actual name of the law is "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act", generally shortened as "the Affordable Care Act." While "Obamacare is a popular nickname for the law, it's a bit troubling to see a supposedly professional insurance agency using slang terminology throughout the website.

Now that we're completely out of the Open Enrollment period (for QHPs, anyway), it'll be interesting to see how the QHP numbers climb based purely on Qualifying Life Events and Native American enrollees.

latest enrollment numbers

May 22, 2014 

Medical Assistance 126,928
MinnesotaCare 46,662

Qualified Health Plan (QHP) 50,759
TOTAL 224,349

Minnesota's final official number as of 4/22 (they bumped their extension period out an extra week from the normal 4/15) was 50,096, so they've added another 663 people in the first month since then, or around 1.3%.

Assuming that rate ends up being typical of both MN specifically and is representative nationally (and of course there's absolutely no evidence that either of these will be the case), this would mean:

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