Here's what might have been a legitimate mistake by a contractor to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, better known as MHC or Maryland Health Connection.

Jenna Johnson writes in the WaPo.

Nevertheless, with horrible optics:

Maryland has achieved its health insurance enrollment goal, thanks to a research error

By Jenna Johnson

For months, it looked like Maryland would barely meet, or even miss, the first enrollment goal for its new health insurance exchange. But it turns out the goal was based on flawed data, and the state’s new goal is one that it has already beat.

Instead of signing up 260,000 Marylanders for private plans or Medicaid during the first enrollment period, as was the original goal, the state is only expected to get 160,000, according to a letter the exchange’s interim executive director received from researchers Friday. So far, sign-ups tally nearly 190,000.


“It’s better to have the correct data to put things into the proper context,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, Maryland’s secretary of health and mental hygiene, in an interview Sunday. “This doesn’t change any of the challenges we’re facing, but it does put those challenges into context.”

The Hilltop Institute from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, a nonpartisan research group, was paid by the state to come up with a goal. They issued a report in mid-summer 2012.
The institute projected that from Oct. 1 to March 31, 147,233 Marylanders would become newly insured through the exchange. Additionally, during the first six months of Medicaid enrollment, 90,639 would automatically be enrolled and 11,046 would come out of the woodwork, not knowing they were Medicaid-eligible before contacting the exchange.
The state set a goal of 150,000 private enrollments and 110,000 Medicaid enrollments.

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