Some important news on Exchange enrollment from the Health and Human Services blog:
Since the beginning of open enrollment, millions of Americans are gaining access to health coverage–many for the very first time—thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The most recent data indicates that approximately 3.0 million people have now enrolled in a private health insurance plan through the Federal and State-based Marketplaces since October 1.
This data strongly implies one million people enrolled for the February 1st coverage start date during the month of January. That is a minimal pressure deadline as someone who was healthy enough to not get in on the December rush is probably healthy enough to not really need to get in on February. Procrastination is only so much fun. I am projecting the same number of people will sign up for the March 1, 2014 coverage start date by February 15th. That pushes the number to roughly 4 million private policies.
The Massachusetts experience was that the greatest wave of enrollment was right before the hardest deadline when actual money was on the line. We know there was a big flurry of older and probably sicker people signing up in December. The young are entering the pools number, so getting an enrollment wave as large or larger than December for the March 15th deadline is highly probable. And if that is the case 6.5 to 7 million people will be enrolled by April 1, 2014. And then there will be the normal enrollment churn as people have different qualifying events that will put them on and take them off Exchange.