Thursday, January 19, 2017

Failure to Resuscitate

A couple weeks back we shared the news that Obamacare enrollment was flatlining. However, there were still four weeks left in open enrollment which gave hope to resuscitation.

Yesterday HHS released another data set with two additional weeks of open enrollment. The prognosis is now dire and indications are showing a failure to resuscitate. The enrollment figures released show only 63,190 new plan selections since January 1st. This is compared to the 2016 open enrollment when 153,631 plan selections were made during roughly the same time period. Overall enrollment is slightly lower by 10,557.

Comparing the press releases from 2016 and 2017 is quite somber. Note the tone (and figures) used by HHS.

Since Open Enrollment began on November 1, about 8.8 million consumers signed-up for health coverage through the platform or had their coverage automatically renewed. This week’s snapshot includes weekly and cumulative data for enrollment through, a breakdown of cumulative data for 38 states using the platform, and cumulative data for local markets.

“As expected, consumer interest is beginning to increase again as we near the deadline for 2016 coverage,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. “We know we have more work to do and as we count down to the January 31 final deadline, we’re focused on making sure consumers understand that they must act soon to find affordable health coverage and avoid the fee for choosing to not have health insurance in 2016. Consumers should know that we’re here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

More than 8.8 million Americans were signed up for 2017 coverage through as of January 14, 2017. This compares to about 8.7 million sign-ups as of January 14 last year, as Americans continue to demonstrate strong demand for 2017 Marketplace coverage.

“With almost 9 million people signed up for 2017 coverage just in states, it’s clear that Marketplace coverage is a product Americans want and need,” said Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “Strong demand is especially striking in light of the unique headwinds created by discouraging rhetoric from ACA opponents. More than 40,000 people have contacted our call center expressing concerns about whether they should sign up for coverage, with a sharp uptick in these questions last weekend. My answer is a resounding yes: in fact, I’ll be signing up for Marketplace coverage myself by the end of the month. If you still need coverage for 2017, visit or your state Marketplace before January 31, and join me and millions of other Americans in purchasing affordable, quality coverage.”

Today’s report covers the period from January 1 through January 14, 2017. Enrollment weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday. Since this year Open Enrollment began on a Tuesday, the totals reported in this snapshot reflect two fewer days than in last year’s published Week 11 snapshot. Measured over the equivalent time period, plan selections this year are almost 100,000 higher than last year.

Not surprisingly, the government still isn't giving up hope. But based on the enrollment my guess is that many of the insurance companies playing in the market are even closer to issuing DNR orders.
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