END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT (MASSACHUSETTS)

Time: D H M S

Washington State

Last month I noted that the Washington HealthplanFinder enrollment report was simultaneously clearcut and confusing at the same time:

According to the ASPE report, as of 1/31/16, 200,691 people had selected QHPs via the WA exchange. This is completely consistent with the exchange's own final report of "more than 200,000".

However, according to their March monthly enrollment dashboard report, the Washington HealthplanFinder only had 176,914 people having "Selected a Plan" as of February...and of those, only 156,493 were reported by the carriers as having paid.

That payment rate is a quite reasonable 88.5%, which is slightly lower than my general 90% rule of thumb estiamate nationally but not out of line at all. However, what's the deal with that 177K topline figure? Where did the remaining 23,777 people go?

Well, the WA exchange just released their April report (which includes data through March) and while the numbers are better, the original mystery remains.

There's definitely some weirdness going on with some of the exchange enrollment reports.

Last night I noted that there's roughly a 17.3K gap between the number of people reported to have selected QHPs during the 2016 Open Enrollment Period according to the official ASPE report (213,883) and the number reported by the exchange itself (196,554).

Based on that discrepancy, the MA Health Connector has increased their enrollment by either a nominal 0.6% or an impressive 9.5%, depending on what you use as the starting number.

Well, this morning I've found a similar report for the Washington exchange, and this one makes even less sense to me because it not only contradicts the ASPE report, it seems to contradict the WA exchange itself.

Coming on top of yesterday's announcement that their state exchange broke the 200,000 QHP enrollment mark this year, Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has released a new report laying out the uninsured rate for the entire state population:

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The number of people without health insurance in Washington state has dropped from 14.5 percent in 2012 to an estimated 7.3 percent or 522,000 people in 2015, according to a new report issued today by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

Nearly every county in Washington saw a drop in the uninsured

The report highlights the positive impact of the federal Affordable Care Act in Washington with county-by-county data on the uninsured and the law’s effect on many segments of the population.

The Washington State ACA exchange has been very good about providing enrollment updates over the final couple of weeks of open enrollment, although the numbers have been included as part of general press releases rather than detailed demographic breakdowns.

They hit 190,000 as of January 29th, and it looks like they managed to rack up over 10,000 more in just the final two days, which is pretty impressive.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 200,000 Washingtonians selected a Qualified Health Plan through Washington Healthplanfinder by the close of open enrollment on Jan. 31. The number of plans selected is nearly 25 percent higher than those selected in open enrollment last year, with approximately 39,000 more customers signed up for coverage this year than in 2015.

I may have seriously lowered my final projection earlier today, but Washington State is still cranking along. Just a few days ago they reported having enrolled 180,000 people in private policies (thru 1/21). Today they report:

Through the first 12 weeks of open enrollment, more than 188,000 residents have selected a Qualified Health Plan for coverage in 2016. Those sign-ups represent a 30 percent increase in plans selected over the first 12 weeks of open enrollment last year.

I presume "the first 12 weeks" means as of 1/23, which would mean another 8,000 people in just 2 days, which is excellent if true (WA was one of 3 states to have a later February coverage deadline...of 1/23).

In any event, this brings WA up to 188,000 people, or 89.5% of my 210K target for the state.

That leaves just 1 week to enroll at least 22,000 people, or 3,142 per day, which actually seems doable after all.

The last official enrollment report from Washington State was 173,947 QHP selections as of January 2nd.

While this isn't an official update, yesterday they posted this blog entry, pushing today's deadline for February coverage (again, the final deadline for coverage starting in March is still January 31st, like every other state):

Washington Healthplanfinder has seen a continued increase in sign-ups as residents coming into the final days of open enrollment. An additional 11,000 customers have selected new or renewed health plans since the start of the new year, bringing the total number of sign-ups to 180,000 since open enrollment began on Nov. 1. 

In 2014 and 2015, the Washington State ACA exchange was one of a handful of exchanges which also handled the billing for QHP enrollees...and in their case, ran into a lot of technical problems in doing so. This year, they've given up on trying to handle the payments themselves, offloading them to the actual insurance carriers as most other states do. I have no idea how much impact this change has had as opposed to improved outreach, the individual mandate penalty increase and so on, but whatever the reasons, WA's numbers are dramatically improved this year:

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that nearly 174,000 residents have signed up for or renewed their health coverage as 2016 open enrollment enters its final month. The deadline to select a Qualified Health Plan through wahealthplanfinder.org is Jan. 31 for coverage effective March 1. Customers who select a plan by Jan. 23 will have their coverage start Feb. 1.

Washington State's exchange just issued their second enrollment update in the past 4 days; after breaking 150,000 QHP selections on Thursday, they've tacked on an additional 12,000 as of Monday:

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is alerting residents today that only a few hours remain to sign up for health coverage throughwahealthplanfinder.org that goes into effect on Jan. 1. Customers have until tomorrow, Dec. 23 to select a Qualified Health Plan that begins at the start of the New Year.

As of Monday evening, 162,000 Washingtonians have selected Qualified Health Plans through Washington Healthplanfinder.

While the deadline for Jan. 1 coverage extends to 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 23, the Exchange is advising customers to select plans by 10 p.m. that evening and avoid the expected heavy online traffic. Customers who sign up after that time may be asked to take additional steps on the way to having their coverage confirmed.

A week or so ago, the Washington exchange released their November numbers, reporting 123,000 QHP selections through 11/30.

Yesterday they issued a mid-December update; the total number is now up to over 150,000:

The upcoming deadline coincides with the biggest surge in sign-ups seen during the current enrollment period. Since the start of the month more than 27,000 customers have selected plans for coverage starting Jan. 1, bringing the total number of those selecting coverage since the start of open enrollment to over 150,000.

OK, this is a bit of a downer on an otherwise extremely positive day, but given my recent obsession with trying to track down the number of people still currently enrolled in effectuated policies for 2015, it seems worth making note of.

Remember, the official exchange effectuation figure as of 6/30/15 was 9.95 million people.

Back in early November, I cobbled together the effectuated enrollment data from 8 different state-based exchanges, and concluded that the numbers stayed relatively from the end of June through the end of September. With Massachusetts included, the numbers were actually higher, and even without MA included (special case) it was only down a nominal amount. With only 8 states representing a small percentage of the national population, however, there was no way of knowing how representative this was.

Hot off the presses...

Washington Healthplanfinder Sees 123,000 Select Qualified Health Plans in First Month of Open Enrollment

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that more than 123,000 residents have selected Qualified Health Plans for 2016 coverage since the launch of the third open enrollment period on Nov. 1. Approximately 112,000 customers renewed plan selections from the previous year, with automatic renewals accounting for more than 84,000 of the 123,209 plans selected through December 1.

All residents who qualify must select a Qualified Health Plan throughwahealthplanfinder.org by December 23 to receive coverage by Jan. 1, 2016. Data collected from the first two open enrollment periods indicate a significant increase in sign-ups as the Dec. 23 deadline approaches. Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2016.

Fresh on top of the Covered California data drop, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (the 3rd-largest state-based exchange after California and New York) has published an updated, detailed enrollment report:

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which operates the state’s insurance marketplace,Washington Healthplanfinder, today announced over 1.5 million Washingtonians accessed health coverage through wahealthplanfinder.org from Oct. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015.

The announcement was part of a new Health Coverage Enrollment Report that includes an updated enrollment total of 152,517 individuals in private health plans – called Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) – as well as executed enrollment for more than 1.4 million Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) eligible enrollees.

When I updated my #OE3 state-level enrollment projections yesterday, I came across this official projection for #OE3 from Your Health Idaho's Sept. 18th board meeting minutes:

Rep. Rusche asked what our target enrollment is for this cycle and what barriers we see in making those targets. Mr. Kelly said the team is focused on the 80% goal of 92,000 as our enrollment target.Premium increases are a potential barrier. Net premium is a relatively small increase for most consumers, and each consumer will experience something different depending Page 5 of 14 on their plan, their location, their carrier, etc. We feel that while the premiums are increasing the relatively small net premium increase will mitigate this barrier to a large degree.

When I asked for clarification, they informed me that:

We currently have 86,659 effectuated enrollments with Your Health Idaho, as of September 15. The 92,000 would also refer to effectuated enrollments.

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