Obamacare Enrollment Continues to Increase
Through the last week of December almost 11.3 million people enrolling into private health insurance plans via the exchange marketplaces. Obamacare growth continues to outpace last year’s sign-ups, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. This information was disclosed on Thursday.
The Health Insurance Marketplaces open enrollment period on the exchanges will end Jan. 31,2015. To date the tally of enrollees has already exceeded the department’s projection of 10 million for the full year. Although this total likely will come down in the coming months as some consumers drop their coverage or fail to pay their premiums, these findings suggest these marketplaces are performing above expectations so far. Even though Congressional Republicans continue their attempts to Repeal the Affordable Care Act.
During the comparable period a year ago, 9.5 million had enrolled nationwide. Expanding the Marketplaces is key not only to covering more of the uninsured, but to stabilizing the new marketplaces for the future. More than sheer numbers, the makeup of the exchange customer base is crucial, especially after health insurance companies reported losses during the marketplaces’ first two years because enrollees proved sicker and costlier than expected. That resulted in higher premium increases for this year compared to 2015, and raised concerns about the affordability of coverage on the exchanges.
President Barack Obama’s administration sees promising indicators in the first national report on sign-ups under the Affordable Care Act in 2016. So far, 3 million of the enrollees are new to the exchanges.
Based on current data thirty-five percent of enrollees so far are younger than 35, and 26 percent are between ages 18 and 34, the report says. In the states where residents use HealthCare.gov, more than 40 percent of those 35 years old or younger are new to the exchanges.
These percentages are similar to those at the end of the 2015 sign-up period last March, but higher than those at the same stage of the enrollment push at the end of 2014, said Richard Frank, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services, during a conference call with reporters. At the end of 2014, 29 percent of HealthCare.gov enrollees were under 35, and 23 percent were between 18 and 34, the department reported at the time.