Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Obanacare and the Real Numbners, sort of.

Well the White House has finally released the numbers on Obamacare. Don't get me wrong we still don't know exactly what they are, but they have been released to the public. It all depends on what the meaning of enrollment is. The total number released is a little over one hundred thousand. But as predicted they include people who did not really purchase a plan they only put one in their shopping cart and did not complete the check out. So how many of them did actually buy a plan? We don't know they didn't tell us. How many of them do they expect to buy a plan? We don't know they didn't tell us.

But we do know about one quarter or 27,000 of the enrollments came from the Fed site. Of those over 8000 were completed via paper enrollment forms, no WWW for you. Out of the 100K who enrolled less than 70,000 came from the 14 state web sites (which worked just fine) for an average of 2500 people per state. That of course is a skewed number since Alaska only had 53 people enroll, and California had 36,000. So what are the real enrollment numbers per state? We don't know they didn't tell us. Maybe they will, its early.

We do however know that almost 400,000 people have been made eligible for free medical coverage under Medicaid. So we now have 4 times as many folks will get their coverage paid for by the rest of us and the 100,000 who may or may not purchase a plan. Not bad for the first month or so. Just think how many there will be by March 2014.

So is this the end of Obamacare? Of course not, ask any Democrat not up for election and its a great thing they can't wait for. The President is feeling good about it all. "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters he had a long conversation with Obama on Tuesday night, and said he feels "very comfortable" that the website will be fixed."

So the web site will be working just fine in a couple of weeks or six months, opinions vary, and those enrollments will come pouring in. Operators are standing by for your call.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Obamacare and the Numbers

This is the week that the government will release the number of enrollments for Obamacare. There are several possibilities for what those numbers will be. They may be much higher than anticipated showing that the exchanges and the enrollment process are working well. Its possible but not likely.  We may be told that the release is being delayed for some technical reason. If so you can bet that the numbers are lower than anticipated, I'm talking much lower, like just a couple of hundred thousand or less. The enrollment figures may be massaged into a useless pile of statistics. They will be expressed as percentages of population, with portions of the population cut out of the equation to make it either difficult or  impossible to get an accurate count. The worst case for this is if they are able to create a method of getting several different totals making the whole mess open to interpretation. This of course will allow both the pro and con sides to declare a win and we won't know for sure what is happening. It is also possible that the figures will not be complete enough to make a judgment on the success or failure of the system. If it is announced that two million people have enrolled but no figure is given for how many actually completed the process and set up payment for and will be covered come 1 January 2014 it will be meaningless. The worst of the lot is if the number of people who have been enrolled in Medicaid vs the number in the private exchanges is not included. In some states the number being placed in Medicaid is running 25 to 1. The administration has said they need at least seven million people to sign up for the ACA and that 40% or more need to be young, healthy, preferably single people to make the system self sustainable. However everyone is surprised at how many are getting placed in Medicaid. The expected figure is rising to four million or more. Will the funding for those four million come out of the pockets of the 2.8 million healthy folks who sign up? Nobody is saying.  My guess is that the actual number is going to be abysmally low. The only reason for this estimate is that the left leaning press is already coming out with articles stating that the numbers don't matter and that no matter what the are the process and the goal are a good thing and a success.