In the five-plus years that I've been running this website, I've never gone for more than a few days without an update.

However, starting Saturday the 22nd, I'll be mostly offline for two weeks. I might post a tweet or two if there's a really important development (gee, what are the odds of that?), but don't expect any blog updates from then through the first week of January.

Happy holidays, season's greetings, and I'll see everyone on the flip side!

OK, with the big Week 7 HC.gov Report having been released, I can now fill in most of the blanks for the 2019 Open Enrollment Period: A grand total of 11.16 million QHP selections nationally so far. That includes 8.45 million on the federal exchange, plus another 2.7 million on the 12 state-based exchanges. If the counting were to stop right here, the total would be almost exactly 5% lower than last year, which would actually be pretty good all things considered.

HOWEVER, it isn't over yet. Eight of the state-based exchanges have enrollment deadlines past 12/15/18, with two of them stretching out as late as January 31st. In addition, most residents of Alaska are still eligible, as is anyone in Washington State or Vermont who had problems on the 15th (see link for details).

Here's what it looks like as of right now:

That figures...after waiting for this report to be released for like 3 hours earlier today, it just figures that it would be released right after I had to go pick my kid up from school...updating post as quickly as possible...refresh for updates...

NOTE: Last year CMS modified the official QHP selection total downwards by around 79,000 enrollees the week after the Week 7 report was released for various reason, mostly due to people making last-minute cancellations to their renewals or having their enrollment applications denied due to problems with legal residency verification or other data matching problems.

Huh. I mentioned this the other day, but apparently it's a bigger thing than I thought:

Limited Time Special Enrollment Period for 2019 Coverage
Posted on: December 17, 2018

Did you hit a snag trying to enroll in 2019 coverage during open enrollment? The Health Benefit Exchange is offering a special enrollment for individuals who were not able to enroll before the end of Open Enrollment.

You still have the chance to enroll in 2019 coverage

In light of this year’s shortened open enrollment period along with other barriers, you still have the chance to enroll in 2019 coverage. If you were unable to select a plan before the close of open enrollment and you would like to enroll in a 2019 plan, contact Customer Support (1-855-923-4633) no later than December 20, 2018! Once you have contacted Customer Support, you will have until December 28, 2018 to select a plan. Plans will still be effective on January 1, 2019.

Earlier today, no fewer than six of the state-based exchanges released their latest numbers: Official 2019 Open Enrollment totals through December 15th. In two cases (Maryland and Washington State), this also counts as their final tally, although the final number may increase slightly more as a few hundred "in line by midnight" enrollees are tacked on.

The other four states (Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts and New York) gave what amounts to a "mid-season report", since all four still have anywhere from four to six weeks left for people to #GetCovered.

Missing from today's updates were final (or any) numbers for Idaho or Vermont, both of which also closed up shop on Saturday (Vermont is still letting a handful of people who had problems enrolling sign up for another few days, but this will likely amount to only a few hundred at most given the tiny population of the state). Also missing were more recent updates for California, Connecticut, DC or Rhode Island.

This isn't an official update, but it's all I have for now. Back on November 29th, the Providence Business News reported that HealthSourceRI, Rhode Island's ACA exchange, was reporting 31,000 QHP selections (including auto-renewals).

Saturday, in response to the insane #TexasFoldEm judicial ruling, RI Governor Gina Raimondo was quoted for a response; the article at WPRI.com states that:

More than 32,000 people have signed up so far for coverage beginning January 2019, according to HealthSource RI.  

"This does not change anything about coverage people currently access through HealthSource RI, nor does it change our current open enrollment period," Sherman said.

Sherman encourages those who need health insurance to sign up before open enrollment ends.  You have until December 31st, although officials recommend you sign up before the 23rd.

Connecticut was originally supposed to end their 2019 Open Enrollment Period on Saturday, December 15th along with most other states. However, on Saturday afternoon, just hours before the midnight deadline, they announced that they were bumping out the final deadline by a full month, through January 15th, to coincide with California and Colorado. This was done mostly in response to the mass confusion and fear which spread rapidly on Friday night and all day Saturday as people heard about the ruling in the #TexasFoldEm lawsuit.

It's probably just as well that they did that, because according to this article in Hartford Business, Access Health CT was down about 10% from last year:

As of Friday, the day of the Texas court ruling and one day before the original enrollment deadline, Access Health was reporting 102,412 enrollees in non-Medicaid health plans offered on the exchange.

This makes the sixth state-based exchange in a row to post their 12/15 enrollment totals this afternoon...and it's the FIRST report of any sort to come out of Maryland. Fortunately, the news is quite good:

NEARLY 157,000 MARYLANDERS ENROLLED THROUGH MARYLAND HEALTH CONNECTION FOR 2019

Enrollments both on and off exchange exceeded estimates for how ‘reinsurance’ would stabilize Maryland’s individual insurance market

Oooh...now that's a treat for a data wonk like me...official off-exchange data is difficult to come by in most states...

BALTIMORE (DEC. 17, 2018) – A total of 156,963 Marylanders enrolled in private health coverage for 2019 during the open enrollment that concluded Saturday on Maryland Health Connection, the state-based health insurance marketplace.

(sigh) Drat. The state-based exchange enrollment reports keep on rolling, but I'm afraid the streak of outperforming last year's numbers has come to a screeching halt in Washington State:

Washington Healthplanfinder Sign-Ups Surge Past 222,000 In Strong Final Weekend
More than 11,000 plans selected during open enrollment’s closing hours, additional sign-ups expected this week

December 17, 2018

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today announced that a total of 222,636 customers selected a 2019 health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s online health insurance marketplace, by last Saturday’s midnight deadline to enroll. The total number of plan selections is only slightly lower than the 242,000 sign-ups posted during the 2018 open enrollment period that stretched one month longer.

Yup, sure enough, the state-based exchange data is coming in fast & furious...thanks to Dan Goldberg for this (no official link/press release yet):

@charles_gaba NY numbers: QHP =247,411; EP = 776,481; CHP =413,576; Medicaid = 3,283,564 .... with 6 weeks before open enrollment ends NY is turning in strong numbers despite higher prices.

— Dan Goldberg (@DanCGoldberg) December 17, 2018

Here's the official press release:

Press Release: NY State of Health Reaches Record Enrollment Level: More Than 4.7 Million New Yorkers Enrolled
Dec 17, 2018

Apparently all of the state-based exchanges decided to release their 12/15 numbers at once this afternoon...(via email, no web link yet):

Connect for Health Colorado® Reports 5% Increase in Healthcare Plan Selections for 2019; Open Enrollment Continues Four Weeks

DENVER -- More than 156,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2019 through the state health insurance Marketplace through December 15, 2018, a rate 5 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“I am happy with the pace of sign-ups for health insurance plans that take effect January 1,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson.  “But we are still enrolling Coloradans who buy their own health insurance and will continue through January 15. For anyone who does not yet have coverage in place, it’s time to go to our site and pick your coverage for next year. In four weeks, the door closes for buying your 2019 health plan.” 

Massachusetts isn't the only state running their own ACA exchange which has a lot to brag about today: Minnesota's exchange MNsure just posted this:

MNsure Reports More Than 113,000 Private Health Plan Sign-ups Following First Deadline
December 17, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Following the first deadline for 2019 coverage, 113,000 Minnesotans have signed up for private health coverage through MNsure. Saturday, December 15, was the deadline for coverage beginning January 1. Minnesotans have until January 13 to sign up for coverage starting February 1, 2019.

“We are excited that more than 113,000 Minnesotans have already signed up for comprehensive coverage through MNsure.org during our smoothest open enrollment to-date,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark.

Since the start of open enrollment, MNsure's Contact Center has fielded nearly 80,000 calls. In addition, there have been 1.2 million visits to MNsure.org and more than 175,000 plan comparison tool sessions.

Massachusetts, home of the predecessor of Obamacare (Mitt Romney and other Republicans hate being reminded of this) doesn't reach their December deadline for January ACA coverage until Sunday, December 23rd.

As of today:

We have 262,459 enrollments for January 2019, compared to 238,631 as of a year ago.

For your CMS-definition math, we have an additional 18,345 plan selections, plus 21 effectuations for February and March, for a grand total of 280,825.

Holy smokes. Not only is the Bay State running a full 10% ahead of last year's paid effectuations as of the same point in time, when you include plan selections (which, for good or for bad, is the way that every other state's enrollments are officially counted during the Open Enrollment Period), they're already 5.1% ahead of last year's final tally.

OK, I'm not sure how I missed this, but apparently in addition to the 7 states (+DC) which have extended deadlinesthe 2019 Open Enrollment period also isn't over for some residents of Alaska:

Alaskans living in Southcentral affected by the Nov. 30 earthquake have until Jan. 29, 2019 to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. 

In a release from United Way of Anchorage, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday that Alaskans living in the Municipality of Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna Boroughs at the time of the quake are eligible for the extension past the original Dec. 15 deadline.

Lori Wing-Heier, director of Alaska's Division of Insurance, explained for the extension to kick in, "The caller has to call in to [healthcare.gov] and would have to attest that they could not enroll because of the earthquake."

Introducing ACA Signups Swag!

Yes, that's right...after running this site for five years, due to public demand (OK, it was like 2-3 people, anyway), I've decided to go ahead and start offering official ACA Signups T-Shirts, Posters and Coffee Mugs!

Every product is available in two designs: The Psychedelic Donut orThe Three-Legged Stool.

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