Off-Exchange Enrollments: This is what I'm talking about.

Hat Tip To: 
BuffCrone

I received the following yesterday, and was given the OK to post it publicly. Given my prior screeds about both a) off-exchange enrollments and b) insurance company billing systems being overwhelmed/backlogged, this is a perfect example of why both of these issues are so important to include when discussing the QHP numbers.

Obviously anecdotal stories can't be used as hard data, but I've read dozens of similar stories. Some refer to going off-exchange; some refer to billing problems with the companies; some, like this one, refer to both. Presented without further comment (emphasis mine):

I'm an independent contractor/consultant in Arizona. I have several friends in the same boat. We all had Arizona state-sponsored (but not supported) small business insurance that had no underwriting.

We were all basically locked out of the ACA website from early on and never got back on. BUT WE ALL BOUGHT insurance with BCBS directly, with ACA policies (none of us could have gotten through underwriting) because we all make too much for a subsidy. NONE of us, and the people like us, are being counted. But I'm sure BCBS is keeping track of these direct purchases, which have to be counted toward the total.

I personally tried to get insurance directly through BCBS before the ACA and was told it would be $1500/mo. and cover no preexisting conditions. FYI, BCBS of AZ had so many direct applications in the weeks leading up to Jan 1 that it took them 3 weeks to get us our cards/contracts! They were totally unprepared for the onslaught of applications. I have the e-mail address of the agent (a BCBS employee, not an independent agent) who signed me up; in the last week (the extension period in December, after Dec. 15) they had so many applicants they were locked out of their online application software and had to take applications via Fax and e-mail on paper, that were input after January 1.