Medicaid data and the latest WA health exchange report

The deadline for enrolling in health insurance through the Washington Healthplanfinder for coverage beginning Jan. 1 was Dec. 23. In the weeks since then, the number of new qualified (private) health plan enrollments has been falling, as reported by the exchange this week.

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Through Jan. 9, QHP enrollments total 73,098 (27 percent of new enrollments through the exchange). These are paid enrollments; according to the report, there are 76,058 applications awaiting payment (they are not included in the chart above).

New Medicaid enrollments since Oct. 1 total 197,770. Of those, 134,700 are newly eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act expansion and 63,070 were eligible for immediate coverage under the old eligibility rules but had not signed up previously.

In addition, 183,141 people have renewed their Medicaid coverage through the exchange. As I wrote last month, the exchange began to report these Medicaid “redeterminations” separately from the other Medicaid numbers only with the Dec. 24 report. It is an important distinction, because most readers of the exchange reports are interested in knowing how many people are enrolling in new coverage.

And apparently, it is a distinction that is lost in the federal numbers. As Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post writes today, “Generally, reporters and administration officials have treated the 3.9 million as being entirely comprised of people who ended up on Medicaid because of provisions in the law.” Actually, though, that number includes a lot of people who were already enrolled in Medicaid but were simply renewing their eligibility through the exchanges.