California

Note: This is more of a placeholder for the moment; it'll be updated as soon as the numbers are available.

At around 10:30am this morning, Covered California will be announcing their final, official 2018 ACA Open Enrollment Period numbers, along with other various demographic info.

Keep in mind that California is second only to Florida in terms of ACA exchange enrollees, with around 13% of the national total each year, so this is a big deal.

The most recent updates from the largest state-based exchange pegged their numbers at 1,542,000 QHP selections as of January 21st, including:

  • "more than" 1.2 million renewing enrollees, and
  • "more than" 342,000 new enrollees signing up.

Last year Covered CA's 1/31 total hit 1,556,676 (or just under 15,000 enrollees higher). In 2016 they had their all-time high of 1,575,340, so they'd have to have tacked on about 34,000 more over the final 10 days of Open Enrollment this year in order to beat their record.

This announcement is far less surprising than the one from the DC exchange I posted a few minutes ago...

Final Day of Open Enrollment! Covered California Will Help Consumers Who Get Caught Up in Surge of Last-Minute Shoppers

  • Covered California’s open-enrollment period ends at midnight tonight.
  • Due to an expected increase in demand today, consumers who start an application before midnight will be able to work with a certified enroller to complete the process on Thursday or Friday.
  • Covered California Service Center representatives are available to help through midnight on the 31st and through 8 p.m. on Feb. 1 and 2. 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On the final day of open enrollment, with tens of thousands of people expected to sign up for health coverage, Covered California announced it would help consumers “cross the finish line” if they get caught up in the surge of last-minute shoppers.

Covered California Announces Continued Strong Enrollment and Reminds Consumers That Penalty Remains in Place Through 2018

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s requirement that consumers have health insurance remains in place, and consumers may face stiff tax penalties if they are not covered in 2018.
  • A recent study estimates 70 percent of consumers, who are uninsured and eligible for financial help, could purchase health insurance coverage for less than the price of the tax penalty.
  • Most consumers are paying less in monthly premiums than they did a year ago.
  • More than 342,000 consumers have newly enrolled during the current open-enrollment period, which remains ahead of last year’s pace, and continues in California through Jan. 31.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced new enrollment figures as it approaches the final weeks of the annual open-enrollment period, and sought to quell consumer confusion by clarifying the federal penalty rules in place for 2018.

via Covered California, yesterday:

  • An analysis of potential premium changes in states across the nation shows increases of 16 to 30 percent likely in 2019 if federal steps are not taken.
  • While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s subsidies would largely insulate subsidized consumers from these costs, millions of unsubsidized consumers would pay the full price of these increases. Many would likely be priced out of coverage.
  • Continued policy and premium uncertainty risks further carrier withdrawals, leaving more consumers with only one health plan and even the prospect of “bare counties.”
  • The analysis reviews three federal policy options that could stabilize markets and mitigate the impact of premium increases in many states.
  • Covered California’s open-enrollment period is still underway and consumers have through Jan. 31 to sign up for coverage.

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

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.

Covered California has released another 2018 Open Enrollment Update report...and thankfully, they finally included their renewal numbers as well as the new additions:

Covered California’s Open Enrollment Continues at a Brisk Pace with New Data Showing Most Consumers Who Renewed and Enrolled in November will Pay Less in 2018

More than 102,000 new consumers selected a plan during the first month of open enrollment, a 28 percent increase over the same time period last year.

This just in from the California Insurance Dept...

Thank you for signing up to receive email alerts when new health insurance rate filings are submitted to the California Department of Insurance.

This message is to inform you that we have posted new rate filing submissions to our health rate filing website. Please select the link below to review and/or comment on newly added rate filing submissions. The Department of Insurance does not respond to questions about rate review filings submitted through the rate website, but we do consider comments during our review process.

http://interactive.web.insurance.ca.gov/apex/f?p=102:4:0::NO:5,RIR:IRGT_...

Oh? What's up?

Covered California’s Open-Enrollment Period off to a Solid Start

  • More than 48,000 new consumers selected a plan during the first two weeks of open enrollment, which is slightly ahead of last year’s pace.
  • New subsidized enrollees are using increased tax credit money to purchase coverage that is more comprehensive.
  • The majority of consumers signing up will be able to pay lower prices in 2018 than they would have for the same plans last year.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California issued its first enrollment snapshot for the first two weeks of the current open-enrollment period. From Nov. 1 through Nov. 14, more than 48,000 new consumers signed up for coverage through Covered California, which is slightly ahead of last year’s pace when more than 39,000 consumers selected a plan during the first two weeks of November 2016.

As both the largest-population state in the country and the largest state-based exchange under the ACA, Covered California provides an important guideline for me when it comes to attempting to track national enrollment data. They hold over 12% of the total U.S. population and enrolled 12.7% of all ACA exchange enrollments for 2017, coming in second only to Florida's 14.4%.

Today I confirmed that on Day One of the 2018 Open Enrollment Period, CoveredCA signed up 5,979 people...around 25% more than they did on Nov. 1st last year.

    Covered California (CA's ACA exchange) just issued the following press release:

    Covered California Keeps Premiums Stable by Adding Cost-Sharing Reduction Surcharge Only to Silver Plans to Limit Consumer Impact

    • In the absence of a federal commitment to continue funding cost-sharing reduction (CSR) reimbursements through the upcoming year, Covered California health insurance companies will add a surcharge to Silver-tier products in 2018.
    • However, because the surcharge will only be applied to Silver-tier plans, nearly four out of five consumers will see their premiums stay the same or decrease, since the amount of financial help they receive will also rise. Those who do not get financial help will not have to pay a surcharge.
    • Financial help means that in 2018, nearly 60 percent of subsidy-eligible enrollees will have access to Silver coverage for less than $100 per month — the same as it was in 2017 — and 74 percent can purchase Bronze coverage for less than $10 per month.
    • California and individual markets across the nation still need a clear commitment that the federal government will continue to make CSR payments to promote lower premiums, save taxpayer money and ensure health insurance companies participate.

    9/25/17: SEE IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW!

    The fact that the Graham-Cassidy bill, like all of the prior Republican "replacement" healthcare bills, screws over people on both Medicaid and the individual market starting in 2020 is hardly news. A few provisions of the ACA are stripped out and/or bastardized immediately (and some, like the individual mandate penalty, are even repealed retroactively), but for the most part the pain doesn't start for another 2 years, well after the midterms are over.

    However, JP Massar called something to my attention this morning:

    Graham-Cassidy, Sections 102 and 103:

    Section 102: Modification and Repeal of Premium Tax Credits

    Here it is...the Big Kahuna! Covered California just issued a detailed press release and accompanying PDF brochure breaking out their proposed 2018 market participation and rate changes:

    Covered California Releases 2018 Rates: Continued Stability and Competition in the Face of National Uncertainty

    Covered California remains stable, with an average weighted rate change of 12.5 percent. The change is lower than last year and includes a one-time increase of 2.8 percent due to the end of the health insurance tax “holiday.”

    The competitive market allows consumers to limit the rate change to 3.3 percent if they switch to the lowest-cost plan in the same metal tier.

    Here's yesterday's press release from Covered California referred to by Dan Mangan of CNBC a little while ago:

    New Analysis Shows Potentially Significant Health Care Premium Increases and Drops in Coverage If Federal Policies Change

    • California’s premiums could rise by 28 to 49 percent in 2018, and up to 340,000 consumers could lose individual market coverage if changes are made to existing federal policies.
    • The potential rate increase would mean billions of dollars in additional federal spending. The 1.2 million consumers who do not receive subsidies would bear the entire brunt of these increases.
    • The potential decrease of 340,000 insured consumers would not only represent many individuals losing access to potentially life-saving care, but it would result in a sicker risk mix in the individual market and higher premiums for everyone.

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A new analysis shows the dramatic consequences facing Californians if federal policies are changed from the current structure and there is no longer direct federal funding of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) reimbursements and the individual shared responsibility payment is not enforced when a consumer chooses not to purchase coverage.

    The analysis found that Covered California health plan premiums could rise up to 49 percent if two key elements that have been in place for the past four years are changed: Cost-sharing reduction reimbursements are no longer directly funded as reimbursements to carriers, and the shared individual responsibility payment is not enforced.

     

    I noted a week or so ago that according to David Anderson of Balloon Juice, rumor has it that many insurance carriers are making their actuaries work overtime to put together multiple rate filings for 2018 based on several different outlooks:

    • Trump/Price/GOP quit screwing around, officially fund CSR reimbursements, enforce the mandate penalty and generally implement the ACA in good faith.
    • Trump/Price/GOP cut off CSR funding but otherwise enforce the law somewhat reasonably
    • Trump/Price/GOP cut off CSR, don't enforce the mandate, keep mucking around with half-assed repeal/replacement bills
    • (etc, etc...several possible scenarios)

    Today the California Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, made a formal announcement that this is exactly what CA insurance carriers will be allowed to do, and he isn't pussyfooting around with the reasons for the policy change either:

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