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Exchange surge may vary

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Public exchange enrollment activity’s been all over the map in March.

Exchange managers hope to take in a flood of applications as open enrollment season comes to a close.

Officially, the deadline for applying for individual plan coverage is Monday.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has made an extension until April 15 available to almost anyone who asks for one in the 37 states where it runs the exchange program. Managers of many state-based exchanges seem to be taking a similarly generous approach to bending the March 31 deadline.

Officials at HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services say exchanges throughout the country took in plan selection information for 1 million people between Feb. 25 and March 17, and another 1 million people from March 18 through March 27.

Daily plan selection volume increased to about 111,000 per day in late March, up from about 50,000 per day in late February and early March, and up from about 30,000 per day in late January and early February.

Here’s a look at what’s happening at some state-based exchanges that have released interim plan selection or QHP paid enrollment figures:

  • Massachusetts – a state that has faced several enrollment system problems — increased volume to about 1,100 per day from March 15 through March 25, from about 170 per day from Jan. 1 through March 14.
  • Minnesota increased reported volume to 750 per day from March 13 through March 23, from about 130 per day from Feb. 21 through March 13. But exchange staff members note that they increased the March 23 QHP selection totals by adding in people who used paper applications to apply for coverage.
  • New York state increased enrollment to about 9,000 per day from March 11 through March 24, up from about 6,000 per day from Feb. 3 through March 10.
  • Washington state reports figures both for people who have paid for QHP coverage and for people who have selected QHPs but have not yet paid their premiums. The average number of people who either paid for QHP coverage or selected a QHP without yet paying for the coverage fell to 535 per day from Feb. 27 through March 27, from 770 per day from Jan. 23 through Feb. 27.

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