OE5

2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

This may be a little anticlimactic, but AccessHealthCT has added another 7,600 enrollees in the past 5 days and still has two days to go...

Connecticut's Health Insurance Open Enrollment In Its Last Hours

Open enrollment on the state’s health care exchange, Access Health Connecticut, ends Friday at midnight. 

Connecticut residents had one week longer to sign up for an insurance plan than customers of the federal site, healthcare.gov.

As of Thursday morning, some 106,000 people had signed up for health care plans through Access Health CT.

Exchange CEO Jim Wadleigh called this the most challenging open enrollment period in the five years it’s been up and running, citing uncertainty over the future of the health care law, mixed messages from the Trump administration, and the shortest enrollment period ever, at just seven weeks. 

Just yesterday MNsure issued an unofficial tally of 106,000 QHP selections through 12/19. Yesterday also happened to be their December deadline for coverage starting in January, although their Open Enrollment Period still runs through January 14th.

Today they updated the number officially, including the final mid-season deadline:

Private health coverage enrollments through MNsure top 108,500 following first deadline

Total enrollments for 2018 now 12.5 percent ahead of where they were this time last year

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Following the first deadline for 2018 coverage, 108,540 Minnesotans have enrolled in private health coverage through MNsure. Yesterday, December 20, was the deadline for coverage beginning January 1. Minnesotans have until January 14 to sign up for coverage starting February 1, 2018.

Last year after the first deadline, MNsure had 96,540 enrollments, putting this year 12,000 enrollments ahead of last year at this time, or 12.5 percent.

Now that it appears that the full list of states and counties eligible for hurricane (or windstorm, in the case of Maine) Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) has settled down, Huffington Post reporter Jonathan Cohn asked an interesting question:

How if at all do you allow for the extensions in FL, TX, etc.? Or, to put another way, how many post-Dec 15 signups through https://t.co/bhGNSognZK do you expect?

— Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohn) December 20, 2017

The closest parallel to this particular situation I can think of was the #ACATaxTime SEP back in spring 2015. In that case, it was the first year that the ACA's (defunct as of this morning) Individual Mandate was being enforced, and a lot of people either never got the message about being required to #GetCovered or at least pretended that they didn't.

This is a pretty minor update to my last Massachusetts post, but every enrollment counts: I've just received confirmation from the MA Health Connector that the Bay State has tallied up 262,302 plans selected or enrollments as of 12/19.

Their record to date was last year, when they had a total of 266,664 QHP selections through January 31st, 2017...and unlike most states, the deadline in MA is still a month away (residents have until 12/23 to enroll for January coverage and until 1/23/18 to enroll for February coverage).

This gives Massachusetts a full 5 weeks to add at least 4,400 more people to break that record. They've added 2,487 in the past 13 days; if they kept that pace they'd add 6,685 more between now and 1/23, so it's not unreasonable to think they can pull that off.

UPDATE: OK, it looks like the big HealthCare.Gov Final Surge Report is gonna be released sometime Thursday morning. Unfortunately, I have a can't-miss meeting in the morning as well, so there's a good chance that after sitting at my desk and constantly refreshing/checking email all day today, I may ironically end up missing the big reveal and not being able to post about it for an hour or so after it comes out.

UPDATE 12/21/17: As of 2:00pm, still nothing. Speculation now brewing that they may be hoping to bury the report at 4:59pm on the Friday before Christmas. Hoping to be proven wrong.

UPDATE 2:35pm: h/t to Adam Sacarny for the head's up:

Exchange open enrollment for 2018 coverage ended w/ approx 8.8M people enrolling in coverage. Great job to the @CMSGov team for the work you did to make this the smoothest experience for consumers to date. We take pride in providing great customer service.

Not an official enrollment update report but close enough (via email from MNsure):

December 20, 2017

Today is the last day for Minnesotans to sign up for health coverage beginning January 1

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Today is the last day for Minnesotans to sign up for health coverage beginning January 1, 2018. Over the last few days, and including the start of today, MNsure has been very busy. Yesterday, there were over 50,000 MNsure.org sessions and MNsure fielded over 5,000 calls. Today is off to a strong start as well, with nearly 21,000 MNsure.org sessions and over 2,200 calls.

To date, MNsure has enrolled over 106,000 Minnesotans in health coverage for 2018 and the average tax credit for Minnesota families is over $7,000 a year.

MNsure.org will remain available for consumers to shop until midnight and the contact center will remain open till midnight as well. Any calls on hold at midnight will be answered.

If Minnesotans do not apply for health coverage by midnight tonight, they can still get coverage beginning February 1, 2018 if they apply by January 14, 2018.

BUSY DAY: I was expecting the big Week 7 HC.gov Snapshot Report to come out this morning, but it hasn't been released yet. Instead, I have major updates from the three largest state-based exchanges: New York, California and now Washington State...and of the three, WA is the most impressive:

Washington Healthplanfinder Sign-Ups Jump Past 230,000, Shatter Last Year’s Record Pace

Final deadline for remaining customers to select 2018 health and dental coverage is Jan. 15

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 230,000 customers selected health plans through Washington Healthplanfinder by the Dec. 15 deadline for coverage that begins on Jan. 1. Customers who have not yet applied for coverage still have until Jan. 15 to sign up for health and dental plans that begin on Feb. 1.

Covered California just announced their latest 2018 Open Enrollment Period numbers:

  • 220,000 new enrollees as of 12/15 (10% higher than last year)
  • Extended Jan. start deadline to 12/22 to handle high demand
  • Final deadline still same as last year (1/31/18)
  • ~1.2 million active or passive renewals
  • ~1.4 million total enrollees (renewals + new enrollments)

Assuming the 1.2 million figure is very close to the exact number, that makes the total number around 1.42 million QHP selections.

This brings CoveredCA within 9% of last year's total, and within 10% of their all-time total set a year earlier.

The official total as of 12/17 last year (with an extra 2 days) was 1,437,150 enrollments, about 1% higher. Given that CoveredCA is keeping to the same January 31st deadline as prior years, I'm pretty sure they'll end up very close to last year's final total when the dust settles.

UPDATE: Here's the full press release with a bunch of other info:

Covered California Looks Ahead to 2019 With Continued Strong Enrollment but National Uncertainty

THIS JUST IN via Dan Goldberg of Politico NY...

.@charles_gaba New NY numbers As of Dec. 15

2.9 million people in Medicaid
229,000 in qhp
364,000 enrolled in Child Health Plus
716,000 in Essential Plan

— Dan Goldberg (@DanCGoldberg) December 20, 2017

For context, as of 12/17/16, New York had enrolled 213,248 people in Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), putting them over 7% ahead of the same point last year...and unlike most states, New York's Open Enrollment Period is just as long as prior years, running all the way out to January 31st.

Put another way: New York's final enrollment tally last year was 242,880, meaning they're just 6% away from breaking that number with six weeks left to go. Their all-time record was set in OE2 with 409,000 QHP selections, but that's a meaningless comparison since the Essential Plan was added the following year, cannibalizing several hundred thousand enrollees anyway.

Oh for heaven's sake:

Mainers could get extended health care enrollment deadline due to devastating windstorm

In the wake of a windstorm that knocked out power to more than 400,000 Mainers, federal officials have agreed to give Mainers more time to enroll for health care under the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Sen. Angus King sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in November requesting an extended deadline for Mainers who spent the better part of a week in the dark without internet or computer access. On Friday, King shared the agency’s reply, which said Mainers likely would qualify for a special enrollment period, extending their enrollment deadline.

“CMS recognizes that certain exceptional circumstances, including a natural disaster such as a severe windstorm, can prevent an individual from enrolling in coverage before an open enrollment period expires,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in her reply to King.

This Star Tribune article from Friday night puts Minnesota's ACA exchange total at 101.6K, only slightly higher than the 100K figure claimed in a KXRA article from over 3 weeks earlier. I'm not sure what happened there--either the KXRA article had the earlier number wrong, or MNsure only enrolled 1,600 people between 11/24 - 12/15, which I find difficult to believe.

Regardless, that's still another 1,600 or so added to the tally. They only need 16,028 more between now and January 14th, although the official ASPE report for OE4 put Minnesota's QHP number at just 109,974, so I'm not sure where the other 7,680 enrollees went. Huh.

MNsure optimistic about sign-ups as deadlines approach

MNsure continues to make progress on enrollment goals for 2018, officials said Friday, as the state’s health insurance exchange nears a deadline next week for January coverage.

OK. The Big News that everyone's waiting on this week regarding the 2018 Open Enrollment Period will come on Wednesday. That's when CMS will presumably post the Week 7 Snapshot Report for HealthCare.Gov, which covers 39 states. Wednesdays are also usually when Covered California, the largest state-based exchange, posts their updates as well.

That leaves the other 11 smaller state-based marketplaces (SBMs), of which only one, Colorado, has posted an update so far this week. As it happens, however, that was an impressive update: Colorado's total enrollments to date now stand at 149,000 people, about 7% ahead of last year. With CO added to the mix, I've now confirmed exactly 2,522,078 QHP selections across those 12 SBMs...which means the SBMs have already broken my personal final QHP projection of 2.5 million as of January 31st.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Connect for Health Colorado® Reports Increase in Healthcare Plan Selections for 2018; Open Enrollment Continues to January 12, 2018

DENVER —  More than 149,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2018 through the state health insurance Marketplace through the December 17, 2017, a rate 7 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®, mid-way through the Open Enrollment period for 2018 coverage.

“It’s not over, but the first half of this Open Enrollment period has set a solid pace,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson.  “We are still enrolling Coloradans who buy their own health insurance through January 12.  I encourage everyone who does not have coverage yet to go to our site and see if they qualify for financial help. My message is, ‘Don’t leave money on the table.’ We know that too many Coloradans who qualify for help assume that they don’t.”

Yes, The Big Deadline, December 15th, has finally come and gone, and the half-length, batcrap insane 2018 Open Enrollment Period is over and done with, right?

Well...sort of.

It's true that the official deadline to #GetCovered for 2018 has passed for HealthCare.Gov (which operates 39 states), along with the state-based exchanges in Vermont and Idaho.

HOWEVER...there are 9 other state exchanges, as well as the one in the District of Columbia, which have deadlines later than December 15th:

Hmmm...a week ago AccessHealthCT reported just over 92,000 QHP selections as of December 8th, leaving 9,380 current exchange enrollees who still had to actively choose a new policy.

Today they've updated their enrollment tally to 98,376 (with 7,800 left to choose a plan)...but the thru date still reads December 8th.

I'm assuming whoever posted the update simply forgot to also update the "as of" date; presumably it's as of yesterday (December 14th), but I've put in a request for clarification.

UPDATE: Yup, they've since corrected the date to read 12/15/17 (basically, as of this morning I presume).

It's important to note that today is not the deadline for Connecticut residents to enroll; AccessHealthCT's deadline isn't until next Friday, December 22nd.

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