FIVE DAYS TO GO FOR HEALTHCARE.GOV OPEN ENROLLMENT - CUE, Inc.
  • FIVE DAYS TO GO FOR HEALTHCARE.GOV OPEN ENROLLMENT

FIVE DAYS TO GO FOR HEALTHCARE.GOV OPEN ENROLLMENT  

By DAN DIAMOND (ddiamond@politico.com; @ddiamond)

Excellent Reminder and Data from POLITICO –  and not even Batman knows the exact answer to the question.

And the question that’s on the mind of policymakers and industry vets this week: Just how much demand will there be? 

Historically, there’s a sign-up surge right before the deadline, as shoppers rush to enroll in coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1., and this year’s surge could be super-sized because Friday is the scheduled end of ACA enrollment in 39 states. As a result, the federal exchange could be under unprecedented strain as advocates try to drive millions of uninsured Americans to enroll by Friday.

– Where HealthCare.gov sign-ups stand. There were 3.6 million sign-ups as of Dec. 2, according to CMS, which works out to about 112,000 enrollments per day. That’s ahead of last year’s daily pace, but because the enrollment period is half as long, analysts are universally expecting a drop-off from last year’s 9.2 total million sign-ups on HealthCare.gov.

Independent analyst Charles Gaba thinks HealthCare.gov is on track for about 7.5 million sign-ups this year, which would be a nearly 19 percent drop-off.

– One ominous indicator: Window shopping has lagged. About 37,000 people per day used HealthCare.gov’s window shopping tool this enrollment period, down from about 65,000 people per day through this point last year.

Observers says there’s a simple explanation: After a website overhaul, the tool is harder to find, and that’s likely hampered would-be shoppers who want to quickly see their options.

Window-shopping is especially “vital this year when there’s so much misinformation and confusion,” said Aisling McDonough, a former CMS official during the Obama administration. “While it’s hard to draw a firm conclusion, I think it’s been one more action that’s made it more difficult to have accurate information and enroll.”