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:

The other day it was reported that unlike prior years, HealthCare.Gov would not be offering any type of "In Line By Midnight" grace period this year for people who start their ACA application today but aren't able to complete it in time for whatever reason.

Apparently that isn't quite the case...

It's busy at our call center today! If you call and are asked to leave your name and phone number, please do so. A call center rep will call you back after Dec 15 to make sure you have Marketplace coverage that starts Jan 1. You may also visit https://t.co/eTfU7hBbyh to enroll.

— HealthCare.gov (@HealthCareGov) December 15, 2017

Good, although this isn't necessarily the same thing; it might only apply to people with special circumstances or whatever. Still, it's a good thing.

Still better to #GetCovered by midnight, though...

UPDATE: Just in case there was any doubt...

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.

3:20pm: IMPORTANT UPDATE!!

According to Steve Valandra, spokesperson for the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the department has already come to a "done deal" agreement with Centene/Ambetter, the terms of which include:

  • The cease & desist order will be removed immediately, allowing Centene/Ambetter to continue selling plans on the individual market in Washington (including the ACA exchange)
  • Centene/Ambetter will immediately ameliorate all patient billing errors and other issues
  • Centene/Ambetter will be hit with a $1.5 million fine, but $1 million of this will be suspended if there are no further violations for at least 2 years
  • Centene/Ambetter must hire an external auditor, approved by the state insurance dept., to go over their books/etc.
  • The official notice of this agreement will be posted publicly on the Insurance Commissioner's website within 5 days.

Hat tip to Angela Marx for the tip!

Covered California Extends Enrollment Deadline as Consumer Interest Surges

  • The number of new consumers signing up for coverage remains ahead of last year’s pace, with more than 38,000 selecting a plan during the past three days.
  • Consumers now have until the end of Dec. 22 to sign up for health care coverage that will begin on Jan. 1.
  • Based on the first month’s enrollment, most consumers are paying less for coverage.
  • Covered California is working to distinguish the deadline for open enrollment in California — which ends Jan. 31 — from the shorter period for much of the nation.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In response to a strong surge in demand, Covered California is giving consumers more time to sign up for health coverage that will begin on Jan. 1, 2018.

Lost in all the hullabaloo over the Week Six HC.gov Snapshot Report the other day was another report from CMS, which breaks out the average effectuated ACA exchange enrollment for the first half of 2017:

First Half of 2017 Average Effectuated Enrollment Report

Effectuated Enrollment Analysis

According to data as of September 15, 2017, an average of 10.1 million individuals had effectuated their coverage through June 2017, meaning that they selected a plan and paid their premium. This is approximately 200,000 fewer effectuated individuals compared to the effectuated report for the first half of 2016 and about 2.1 million below the number of plan selections at the end of 2017 open enrollment.

So Jay Norris, a health insurance broker in Colorado (and husband to the fantastic Louise Norris) tweeted this a few minutes ago:

Customer: What about community healthcare plans?

Me: Anything not ACA compliant won't provide protection for catastrophic expenses.

Customer: HomePort Healthcare says they move you to an ACA plan if you have a catastrophe because those can't deny you for pre-existing conditions

— Jay Norris (@lukkyjay) December 14, 2017

...to which Louise noted:

This is an astounding level of negligence on the part of that salesperson and/or company.
Please spread the word: YOU CANNOT SWITCH TO AN ACA-COMPLIANT PLAN OUTSIDE OF OPEN ENROLLMENT unless you have a qualifying event. A catastrophic health problem is NOT a qualifying event. https://t.co/BAPChCasOG

— Louise Norris (@LouiseNorris) December 14, 2017

Many of you have heard the story of Laura Packard, a young woman who was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s disease last spring, and who has since become a powerful advocate for the Affordable Care Act, writing op-ed pieces for US News & World Report. recording videos for NowThis and so forth.

She made news in September when President Trump blocked her on Twitter for daring to ask him not to kick millions of Americans off their healthcare policies...and again a few weeks ago when Nevada GOP Senator Dean Heller had her thrown out of a town hall he was speaking at for daring to ask him not to kill her.

A couple of weeks ago, the Washington HealthBenefit Exchange reported a 43% increase in new enrollees on their ACA exchange, with 17,800K new additions vs. 12,500 at the same point last year.

Today they issued another update, and the new enrollee numbers are even more impressive:

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Health Benefit Exchange today is alerting customers who have not yet signed up for 2018 coverage that 11:59 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 15 is the deadline to select health and dental plans through Washington Healthplanfinder that begin on Jan 1, 2018. After Dec. 15, individuals have until Jan. 15, 2018 to secure annual coverage that would start on Feb. 1, 2018.

Washingtonians seeking coverage for 2018 include 40,000 new customers who did not have coverage in the marketplace last year. The total number of new applicants represents a 47 percent increase over last year.

About a week ago, New York State of Health reported they had enrolled 166,000 people in Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) as of December 7th, plus another 710,000 in their Essential Plan (NY's name for the BHP program). The QHP number was around 13% ahead of the same point last fall.

Today they provided another (partial) update:

Press Release: As Major Enrollment Deadline Approaches, NY State of Health Enrollment Remains High 

Dec 13, 2017

New Yorkers Are Encouraged to Enroll by Friday, December 15th for January 1st Health Coverage

I've been expecting the first and third of these developments:

MARYLAND Open enrollment extended by one week:

OPEN ENROLLMENT EXTENDED UNTIL DEC. 22
ONE WEEK ADDED TO ENROLL IN 2018 HEALTH, DENTAL COVERAGE

BALTIMORE (DEC. 13, 2017) – Open enrollment through Maryland Health Connection has been extended until Friday, Dec. 22 to choose a plan for health coverage to begin Jan. 1, 2018, with expanded call center hours through next week.

Individuals can apply at MarylandHealthConnection.gov or through the “Enroll MHC” mobile app available free in the App Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).

Also, hundreds of insurance brokers and navigators around the state can help Marylanders apply for financial help and enroll in a plan. Their locations and contact information are available at MarylandHealthConnection.gov or through a GPS-enabled locator tool on the app.

OK, here it is: OE5 data for HealthCare.Gov for the 2nd-to-last week:

UPDATE: Minor updates out of New York and Washington State added later today have nudged the official national QHP selection tally over the 7.0 million mark. All numbers below have been updated to include these additions.

UPDATE 12/14/17: With the latest update from California, the confirmed national QHP selection total has now officially broken 7.1 million.

Week 6, Dec 3- Dec 9, 2017

In week six of Open Enrollment for 2018, 1,073,921 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform. As in past years, enrollment weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday.

via email from HealthSourceRI:

At week six of Open Enrollment nearly 29,000 Rhode Islanders have enrolled in coverage, which is about five percent more than last year. HealthSource RI continues to see an increase in new customers. We have more than three times the number of new enrollees this Open Enrollment period compared to the previous. HealthSource RI is pleased to see an increase in customers age 18-34, often known as “young invincibles.” While 25 percent of our renewing customers are age 18-34, 34 percent of our new customers fall into this age group.

Rhode Island is a tiny state, of course, so this doesn't necessarily mean much nationally, but it's great news across the board nonetheless.

According to the CMS Public Use File, Rhode Island's official tally as of 12/10/16 was 27,555 enrollees; 29,000 is indeed 5.2% higher. In fact, they only need 500 more people to beat their OE4 numbers, though they'd have to add another 5,700 to reach the all-time Rhode Island record of 34,670 set in OE3.

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