Apparently HHS has gotten sanity on its failure to release monthly numbers, and will give us up-to-date totals this time. We have been getting monthly updates only to the last Saturday of each month, which makes no sense. This time, we are hearing that HHS will not only give us the numbers to March 31 in their next report, but all the way to April 15, the data when most states wrap up extended enrollment.
But remember, that isn't true of all states, and even after Open Enrollment definitively closes, people with Qualifying Events will still be able to get insurance on the Exchanges, or change insurance plans. That includes losing a job that provided coverage, having a child, and so on. Rules differ by state, so YMMV.
We do not seem likely to hit 8 million by tomorrow, but we certainly will some time after that, and we will keep on going. In the meantime, we have other numbers and news.
In the first update I plan to list the Republicans who will be questioning Silvia Burwell in her confirmation hearing, and to link to the goofiest things I can find them having said about the ACA. Will any of them back off, or will they top themselves? Again?
Update #1: Nope. It turns out that the first update is another shoutout from Paul Krugman to brainwrap.
Paul Krugman, NYT: Obamacare, The Unknown Ideal, Continued
In part this may reflect the Obama administration’s lackluster job so far in getting the word out. But it also, I think, reflects a persistent anti-ACA tilt in news coverage. In the final days of March I wrote about the de facto blackout on the obvious surge in enrollments; if you weren’t reading Charles Gaba and/or bloggers who followed him, you were in the dark about a huge developing story. And this tilt has continued.
News and Numbers
Yesterday I issued a reminder/warning that the March HHS report might stop at 3/29, leaving the last 2 (and by far the busiest) days of the official enrollment period, the 30th-31st to be moved over to the April report.BONUS: ACA causing INSURERS to proactively HELP people w/diabetes!
If HHS did this, the March report would appear to only include about 6.5M exchange QHPs, since another 600K would be moved to April, along with the additional 700K (give or take) enrollments from 4/01 - 4/15 (and even beyond).
Fortunately, if this bulletin from Inside Health Policy [paywalled] is true, wiser heads at HHS have prevailed...and then some!HHS Eyes April 17 Release Of Latest Enrollment Numbers
On top of today's CBO report projecting a $104 Billion savings on the cost of the ACA over the next decade and their projection of 2015 premiums only going up slightly, this is a hell of an unexpected bit of news....Treating high blood sugar is cheap if the patients are willing to do their part. A few pills (for type II, insulin resistance, which is my situation) or doses of insulin (for type I, no insulin produced in the pancreas) and a few test strips a day. An occasional glucose tablet when sugar goes down too far in response to medication. Not treating high blood sugar leads to neuropathy (like having pins and needles continuously for months or years in the affected parts, followed by no sensation at all), to non-healing sores, and to amputations and heart attacks. Among other things. I have seen it up close over decades. Twice.
As hundreds of thousands of diabetics get health coverage under the federal law, insurance companies are aggressively targeting this glut of new patients, who are expensive to treat and often lax in taking medications and following their diet.Well I'll be damned. Private, for-profit insurance companies actively assisting their customers in trying to stay healthy.
Insurers are calling diabetics when they don't pick up prescriptions or miss appointments. They are arranging transportation to get them to the doctor's office and some are even sending nurses on house calls in an effort to avoid costly complications that will have big impact on their bottom lines.
Exactly the way that the law was intended to work, I'd say.
Hoo, boy...this is gonna cause some heads to explode over at FOX News...Too much good news to summarize, including the PDF of the complete report. Even if you don't obsessively click through every link I give you, click this one.
More specifics on who gets to finish applications after the original deadline, when, and where.
A few days ago I gave a final 4/15 exchange QHP estimate range from between 7.7 - 7.9M, with an outside shot of 8M.USA! USA!
Today I'm narrowing my projection within that range; unless there's a really big absolute-last-minute spike today and tomorrow (which is conceivable), it's looking like the final tally will end up somewhere between 7.8 - 7.9M. 7.75 - 7.85M I suspect the 8M mark will remain tantalizingly out of reach.
On the other hand, if I've seriously lowballed here and it does end up around, say, 7.95M, it's just barely possible that a handful of stragglers from Nevada and Oregon (along with paper applications in Florida?) could just barely drag the 4/30 total over the 8M line (Nevada has actually extended their "started by 3/31" policy all the way out until May 30, while Oregon has extended their full enrollment period out to 4/30).