PPACA enrollees expected to double in 2015

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

This year was just the beginning. The number of Americans who buy health coverage through the exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the next open enrollment period will “far surpass” the eight million who enrolled in plans earlier this year, according to an analysis by HealthCare.com, a technology firm that helps consumers buy health insurance.

Healthcare.com estimates that 12-16 million people will enroll in plans under PPACA during the next open enrollment period, starting Nov. 15.

“This surge in activity will demand that both private companies and federal and state marketplaces become more efficient in serving new buyers of Obamacare,” said Jeff Smedsrud, CEO of HealthCare.com.

The surge in enrollment will be driven by the end of grandfathered plans, increased penalties for not having insurance and an increasing number of small employers who halt coverage, their analysis said. Under PPACA, in 2015 penalties for not having health insurance climb to $325 per adult and $162.50 per child or 2 percent of adjusted household income, whichever is higher.

The likelihood that many small businesses will stop providing coverage for their employees, which could cause as many as 20 million people to migrate to individual plans, the analysis said.

“There could be twice as many people shopping for health plans, but with only half the time to enroll there is huge pent up demand,” Smedsrud said.

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