2019 OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS (most states)

Time: D H M S

Connecticut chimes in, with nearly 192K total, including 74K exchange QHPs...

As of Sunday night, 191,961 people had signed up for coverage, with 74,000 in private health plans and the rest in government-funded Medicaid plans, said Access Health CT's CEO Kevin Counihan.

He said the exchange had been "swamped" on Monday, prompting the predictions of possibly 200,000 total enrollees since open enrollment began in October. It's unclear how many of those people were previously uninsured. An analysis is expected this summer.

At around 12:30pm I posted this New York update, which referenced a press release from this morning:

...as of 9 a.m. today, 1,162,795 New Yorkers have completed their applications and 812,033 have enrolled for coverage since the launch of the Marketplace on October 1, 2013. 

Yeah, well, that was then; this is now (around 8:45pm):

Yup, that's right: Another 14,779 enrollments (QHP+Medicaid combined) since 9:00am.

Again, assuming a 38/62 split, that's another 5,600 QHPs and 9,179 Medicaid enrollees, for a total of around:

  • appx. 384,585 exchange QHPs
  • appx. 442,227 new Medicaid enrollees

A few odds and ends as we wait for the exit polls enrollment figures to come in...

Covered California starts "triage" program: This will negatively impact the 3/31 total, but will allow even more people to enroll during the extension period:

Facing a flood of interest, the Covered California exchange plans to prevent some consumers from finishing their Obamacare enrollment so others can start the sign-up process to meet Monday's deadline.

Californians were waiting in line for hours Monday to get coverage and heavy consumer traffic was slowing down the state's exchange website at coveredca.com. Overall, health plan enrollment through Covered California surpassed more than 1.2 million by early Monday.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the state plans to log off some online applicants to make room for other consumers to use the website. The state will tell people that they have until April 15 to complete their application.


Fortunately, as I noted earlier, HC.gov seems to be taking up the slack...

Kentucky's last update, as of 3/27, was 70,273 exchange QHPs and 280,113 Medicaid, a total of 350,386.

Assuming the same 24/76 split that the prior update had, that should mean an additional 2,060 QHPs and 6,550 Medicaid added.

Over 359,000 have applied with #kynect as of 7AM today. Under 9 hours are left in open enrollment. Thousands have applied, so should you.

— kynectky (@kynectky) March 31, 2014

We hven't heard a peep from Rhode Island since way back on March 8th, an eternity ago. At the time, their exchange QHP total was 19,690. They've finally released their first update since then:

A total of 26,128 individuals signed up for private plans through the HealthSource RI marketplace through Sunday night since the start of enrollment Oct. 1, up from 19,690 as of March 8, HealthSource RI spokeswoman Dara Chadwick told WPRI.com.

...Those numbers...exclude the far larger number of Rhode Islanders who’ve used HealthSource RI to sign up for Medicaid, the government insurance program for low-income individuals, which totaled 48,602 as of March 8 – far above the state’s goal for the first year.

...Blue Cross did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how many others have signed up for coverage directly through its website, bypassing HealthSource RI.

I'm also rather amused at how stories like this are finally starting to talk about the number of off-exchange enrollments. Gee, I wonder what might have inspired that?

 

Nevada doesn't want to be left out of the craziness...OK, not exactly a major update but every one of those numbers is a human being (and one step closer to 7M)...about 4,500 more (although most of the new ones aren't paid yet...imagine that! They enrolled 2 days ago and still haven't paid? The horror!)

Update as of 3/29: A busy weekend for enrollment, 40,498 consumers confirmed Qualified Health Plan selections, 24,062 have paid. #GetCovered

— Nevada Health Link (@NVHealthLink) March 31, 2014

We are seeing record traffic counts at the call center and http://t.co/k2YKIcssBl. Many Nevadans are rushing to beat the deadline.

— Nevada Health Link (@NVHealthLink) March 31, 2014

OK, here we go: CoveredCA just announced their exchange QHP tally as of 2am this morning: 1,209,791

Huge consumer interest - As of 2 am, 3-31, #CoveredCA has enrolled 1,209,791 people in health plans. Open enrollment ends @ 11:59 pm tonight

— Covered California (@CoveredCA) March 31, 2014

The bad news is that this is about 70,000 lower than I estimated (1.28M), which is a bit disappointing.

The good news is that they're still chugging along without any outages (that I know of), and HC.gov just tweeted the following:

Record volume on http://t.co/eTfU7hBJUR today. 1.2M visits through noon and 125k+ concurrent users at peak so far today. #GetCoveredNow

— HealthCare.gov (@HealthCareGov) March 31, 2014

From the Wall Street Journal around 1:14pm:

"A second software glitch took HealthCare.gov offline on Monday as the site struggled to stay open during this year's final day of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.

The new problem hit around 12 p.m. EDT and was preventing users from creating new accounts, said a person familiar with the matter. The glitch is related to the part of the system that processes peoples' identities, the person said. A user who visits the site now and tries to log in is told "Healthcare.gov has a lot of visitors right now" and is put into a queue."

..."The latest glitch comes as the site had been performing well, if not perfectly, during a time of heavy use. On Sunday, HealthCare.gov processed more than 160,000 enrollments—the highest daily number to date, the person said."

So, why do I still think they're not only going to hit the low end of my final range (6.9 million) but may actually still beat the high end of the range (7 million even)?

Simple math, really:

I've been contacted by perhaps 15 different news media outlets in the past couple of weeks--NPR, Newsweek, the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Rolling Stone, etc.

Every one of them has had the decency to either email/tweet me first, or at least to call my business line (which is freely available).

Naturally, the one outlet who called my home line and bothered my wife was FOX News.

I'll be happy to talk to just about anyone, but please don't pester my wife, OK? The home number is off limits.

Thanks much.

Yesterday there was an unofficial NY count of 100K total enrollments (QHPs + Medicaid) in the past week (which I estimated broke down to 12,920 QHPs on Friday & Saturday, or 6,460 per day).

Today they gave the official number (still not broken out, though): 812,033 combined.

ALBANY (March 30, 2014) – NY State of Health (NYSOH), the State’s official health plan marketplace, reported that as of 9 a.m. today, 1,162,795 New Yorkers have completed their applications and 812,033 have enrolled for coverage since the launch of the Marketplace on October 1, 2013. More than 70 percent of those who have enrolled to date were uninsured at the time of application.

The previous exact number was 782K, broken out to 367K QHPs and 415K Medicaid. as of 3/27.

So, this is another 29,561 in the past 3 days.

A couple of hours ago I stated:

So, for my final, FINAL projection (again, assuming no massive, multi-hour outages by HC.gov or CoveredCA), I'm gonna go with a range: Between 6.9 Million and 7.0 Million.

Well, guess what?

Obamacare sign-up closes at midnight and enrollment is surging, but a technical flare-up on HealthCare.gov Monday morning marred the administration’s momentum.

The online portal, which had been handling millions of visitors over the past few days as enrollment pushed past 6 million, was “down for maintenance” starting at around 3:20 a.m. Officials said it returned to functionality at 9 a.m.

Hmmm...well, on the one hand, this was indeed a "multi-hour outage by HC.gov". On the other hand, it doesn't appear to have been anything critical (ie, they're back online now and all appears to be well...it's not like the earth opened up and swallowed the server farm or anything), and it happened in the wee hours of the morning, so hopefully the impact was minimal.

Yeesh. Like I'm not scrambling enough this morning...

At least 5 different people have sent me the link to the following story from yesterday's LA Times. Here's the key passage:

Precise figures on national health coverage will not be available for months. But available data indicate:

• At least 6 million people have signed up for health coverage on the new marketplaces, about one-third of whom were previously uninsured.

• A February survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found 27% of new enrollees were previously uninsured, but newer survey data from the nonprofit Rand Corp. and reports from marketplace officials in several states suggest that share increased in March.

• At least 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have signed up for state Medicaid programs, according to Rand's unpublished survey data, which were shared with The Times. That tracks with estimates from Avalere Health, a consulting firm that is closely following the law's implementation.

They all starred in something called "Seven".

I feel a little silly this morning after my overdramatic post last night which bumped my projection up from 6.72 to 6.78M, but I'm now thinking that exchange QHPs may, against all odds, manage to push over the 7 million mark by tonight after all.

Why? What accounts for my casually increasing it by 220K this morning after stressing so much over a 60K bump last night? Several things:

First (and I'm incredibly embarrassed to to admit this), but I made a basic, 2nd-grade arithmatic error last night. I was incredibly tired and had been pushing numbers around in my head and on the spreadsheet all day, along with my wife having the flu (she's feeling better this morning, thanks)...and I made a basic "forgot to carry the 2" type of mistake. Result? My projection table was way off. With the correction, I now have it at 6.86 million.

(Also, it was just brought to my attention that I accidentally uploaded a blank version of "The Graph" to Twitter last night...it included the graphics but no text. I was very, very tired, folks...)

In addition, there are two other things:

OK, I have a confession to make:

I was quite confident of my projections through the 5 million and 6 million milestones...however, since Wednesday, I admit that I've been somewhat "winging it".

My estimates for the past 4 days have been about 2/3 based on solid data...but the other 1/3 has been a mish-mash of anecdotal evidence and instinct. I could be dead wrong here, but I'm going ahead and bumping up my projection for 11:59pm on Monday, March 31st one more time, to just shy of 6.78 million exchange-based QHPs.

On the hard data side, it's the latest numbers out of New York and Washington State, both of which appear to have doubled their already-spiked March enrollment rates in the past few days.

On the instinct side, maybe it was those "Apple store opening"-like line photos that I posted this morning (although most of those folks will probably end up actually enrolling during the extension period, if you think about it).

Maybe I'm just getting swept up in the heat of the moment. Maybe I'll look like a complete schmuck on Tuesday, and my flavor-of-the-month will turn sour.

I don't like basing my estimates on "gut feelings" or "hunches". This is the antithesis of everything that statistical analysis and the scientific method should be based on (at least, I think...I'm neither a statistical analyst nor a scientist). However, when you don't have solid evidence, sometimes you have to go with instinct. In this case, it's a mixture of both.

So, very soon we'll know how good my instincts are on this.

The thing is, I have no problem being off here (and I will be to some degree)...as long I've underestimated the actual total.

NOTE: Hopefully everyone noticed the (?) next to "final". One more update tomorrow.

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