Maryland

2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

Hmmm...the headline looks bad, but when you read further it's clearly a matter of perspective more than anything else:

Maryland's health insurance exchange improperly billed the federal government $28.4 million, a Department of Health and Human Services audit reported Friday.

An inspector general's probe found a lack of oversight and internal controls, not criminal wrongdoing, was the cause of the exchange's problems since the marketplace opened in 2013.

I'm expecting final official #OE2 enrollment reports from Massachusetts and Minnesota later today, but otherwise have to catch up on a bunch of my actual day job work. Here's three quick things to note:

MARYLAND: The Maryland Health Connection has released a big slideshow PDF with a mountain of demographic info. The only gripe I have is that it only runs through 2/15, so doesn't include the extra folks who signed up during the #ACAOvertime period. Data nerds, rejoice!!

This Just In from Maryland...

MARYLAND HEALTH CONNECTION ADDING ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR MARYLANDERS UNAWARE THEY WOULD OWE TAX PENALTY WITHOUT COVERAGE

Special Enrollment Period will run March 15 through April 30

BALTIMORE (Feb. 25, 2015) — Maryland Health Connection is allowing consumers who owe a tax penalty for not having health coverage in 2014 to still enroll for 2015 coverage through a special enrollment period that will run March 15 through April 30.

Consumers who owe or have paid a tax penalty for not having coverage in 2014 would pay a higher penalty for this year if they also did not enroll for 2015. The open enrollment period to buy a Qualified Health Plan for 2015 ended Feb. 15.

The special enrollment period is for Marylanders who must pay the penalty for lacking health insurance in 2014 and who attest that they became aware of the penalty during this income tax filing season after the Feb. 15 close of open enrollment for 2015 coverage.

Holy Smokes.

264,000 Marylanders enrolled through Maryland Health Connection for 2015
Qualified Health Plan enrollments top 119,000
Enrollments “in the pipeline” can be completed by Feb. 28

Overview:
264,245 Marylanders enrolled through Maryland Health Connection from Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. That includes 119,096 people enrolled in private Qualified Health Plans (QHP) and 145,149 enrolled in Medicaid.

Due to high demand during the final weekend of open enrollment, Maryland Health Benefit Exchange is allowing people who started an application at MarylandHealthConnection.gov or contacted the call center by Feb. 15 to complete the process by Feb. 28. Figures for open enrollment will be revised after Feb . 28 to account for those completed enrollments.

Now that's a last-minute extension...

MARYLAND HEALTH CONNECTION ALLOWING PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEGUN ENROLLMENT APPLICATIONS TO COMPLETE THEM UNTIL FEB. 28

BALTIMORE (Feb. 15, 2015) — Due to high demand during this final weekend of open enrollment for 2015, Maryland Health Connection is allowing people to complete their enrollments until Feb. 28, 2015. Marylanders need to have started an enrollment application at MarylandHealthConnection.gov or have contacted the call center at 855-642-8572 before midnight Sunday, Feb. 15 to be able to complete the process by Feb. 28.

After midnight Sunday, MarylandHealthConnection.gov will include the message: "Open enrollment for 2015 has ended. If you began to enroll by the February 15 deadline but were not successful, please check the box below and you may go ahead and complete your enrollment. You must finish your enrollment no later than February 28. … [ ] I started an application or called the call center to enroll by the February 15 deadline but was not able to complete my enrollment.”

This is something of an exclusive: I've received official notice from the Maryland Health Connection exchange that as of last night, their enrollment totals stood at:

  • 107,586 QHP selections
  • 132,392 Medicaid/CHIP enrollees
  • 239,978  Total

How's this compare vs. prior weeks?

Not as dramatic of a surge as some other states, but then again, with today's update, Maryland is already 2% higher than my target number (105K), which was in turn 19% higher than the HHS Dept's target number (88K), which itself was 30% higher than their 2014 total (67,757).

A couple of weeks ago, Maryland blew past the HHS Dept's target for the state (88K QHPs) and hit 94K as of 1/22. I noted that they were on their way towards easily hitting my personal, higher target of 105K by 2/15.

In response, a few days ago I went through all 50 states (+DC) and adjusted my own projections, lowering them in 9 states while bumping them up in 26 others, including Maryland. I tacked another 10K onto MD to 115,000 QHP selections. (Note that I'm leaving my original projections in the actual spreadsheets to avoid confusion; the revisions are more just to confirm that I recognized where the trendlines would be and where my earlier logic fails were).

Just now, the MD exchange announced that they've already broken the 100K QHP mark:

A week or so ago, Maryland broke the official HHS target for 2015 (88K) with 91,137 QHP enrollments. Today, they're reporting:

As of Jan. 22, 185,199 Marylanders have enrolled in quality, affordable health coverage for calendar year 2015, since the 90-day open enrollment period began Nov. 15. That includes 93,806 people enrolled in private Qualified Health Plans (QHP) and 91,393 people enrolled in Medicaid.

As of Jan. 21, the total number of Medicaid and MCHP enrollment is 1,281,999. Compared to Dec. 31, 2013, the net change in Medicaid enrollment as of Jan. 21, 2015 is +241,337. This figure takes into account that individuals lose Medicaid coverage because of changes in household, age and income, as well as redeterminations.

OK, that's 2,669 in 11 days, or 242/day. This is down substantially from the prior week or so, but it includes the days leading up to and following the 1/15 deadline for February coverage (when they'd drop off again), so that doesn't really mean much.

TODAY, January 15th, is the deadline for anyone who wants to enroll in a private insurance policy for coverage starting on February 1st in most states (or to switch to a different policy if you have one but want to make a change starting in February).

After that, of course, we'll have the big February 15th deadline (for March 1st coverage), which will also be a big deal because it'll be the last chance many (not all) uninsured people have to get coverage before the door slams closed until next fall.

Remember, the penalty in 2016 for not having health insurance in 2015 is considerably higher than it was for 2014: Instead of 1% of your taxable income (or $95/person in your household, whichever is higher), the fee this year is 2% of your income or $325 per person.

On the surface, this is just another (admittedly good) enrollment update from Maryland:

As of Jan. 11, 169,462 Marylanders have enrolled in quality, affordable health coverage for calendar year 2015, since the 90-day open enrollment period began Nov. 15. That includes 91,137 people enrolled in private Qualified Health Plans and 78,325 people enrolled in Medicaid.

Marylanders can enroll by Jan. 18 for coverage effective Feb. 1 and, if eligible, for an Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) to immediately lower their monthly insurance bills. Marylanders who were enrolled for 2014 should re-enroll by Jan. 18 for an Advanced Premium Tax Credit that begins Feb. 1. They will receive any tax credit owed for January 2015 when they file their federal income tax return in 2016.

Yes, that's right: We're quickly approaching the next big deadline: Private policy enrollment in time for coverage starting on February 1st.

Of the 3 monthly deadlines (January 1st start, February 1st start, March 1st start), this is the one getting the lowest amount of hype, for obvious reasons. The December 15th (or December 18, 23 or later, depending on the state) deadline was a huge deal because millions of people had to be renewed (either actively or automatically) in order to avoid any sort of a coverage gap, while a few million more people new to the exchanges jumped on board in time to start 2015 running. By my estimate, there should have been roughly 8.6 million people whose 2015 policies started on Jan. 1st.

The total numbers aren't much higher than the last update, but that's understandable; this official report only includes 3 more days, including a quiet holiday weekend:

As of Jan. 4, 156,305 Marylanders have enrolled in quality, affordable health coverage for calendar year 2015, since the 90-day open enrollment period began Nov. 15. That includes 87,348 people enrolled in private Qualified Health Plans and 68,957 people enrolled in Medicaid.

Marylanders can enroll by Jan. 18 for coverage effective Feb. 1 and, if eligible, for an Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) to immediately lower their monthly insurance bills. Marylanders who were enrolled for 2014 should re-enroll by Jan. 18 for an Advanced Premium Tax Credit that begins Feb. 1. They will receive any tax credit owed for January 2015 when they file their federal income tax return in 2016.

Open enrollment for 2015 for Maryland Health Connection ends Feb. 15.

No official press release, but hard numbers from the Maryland exchange Twitter feed:

#Happy2015 #Maryland enrollments as of 1/1: 86,347 QHP, 67,255 Medicaid, 153,602 total. Next weekly report out Monday #GetCoveredMD

— MD Health Connection (@MarylandConnect) January 2, 2015

On it's surface, this sounds like a decent but not amazing update: Up 2,600 since 12/28. However, consider this: 86,347 QHP selections is up 6,360 since MD's January coverage deadline of 12/18. That means they're still enrolling new people at 454 per day for coverage starting in February...as opposed to the 339/day that they averaged duing the entire first open enrollment period. That's a rate over 33% faster.

Another update from Maryland:

As of Dec. 28, a total of 146,529 Marylanders have enrolled in quality, affordable health coverage for calendar year 2015 since the 90-day open enrollment period began Nov. 15. That includes 83,735 individuals enrolled in private Qualified Health Plans (QHP) and 62,794 individuals enrolled in Medicaid.

At 83,735 enrollments so far, MD has now enrolled 24% more people than they did during all of the 2014 open enrollment period (67,757 thru April 19th).

Put another way, they've enrolled 375 people per day since their January deadline, which is still 11% faster than the 338/day they averaged during the first open enrollment period (including the December and March surges).

Add another 62,794 to Medicaid and MD's turnaround for 2015 is quite impressive indeed.

As expected, the post-deadline slowdown has started:

Latest @MarylandConnect #s: 144,313 total enrollments; 82,819 QHPs; 61,494 Medicaid. Weekly report out Monday #GetCoveredMD

— MD Health Connection (@MarylandConnect) December 26, 2014

Latest enrollment numbers as of 12/25

— MD Health Connection (@MarylandConnect) December 26, 2014

Maryland's previous update, which included their 12/18 deadline for January coverage was just shy of 80K QHPs, or an average of 2,353 enrollments per day since 11/15.

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