The latest chapter in the never-ending story of Obamacare expectations ends happilyfor the president, whose administration reported on Thursday thatmore people than anticipated enrolled in health care plans throughthe marketplace exchanges this year.

|

A total of 12.7 million Americans signed up for exchangeplans before the Jan. 31 deadline, Health and Human ServicesSecretary Sylvia Burwell announced. That’s smack in the middle ofthe administration’s prediction that 11-14 million would signup.

|

Of that total, 9.6 million purchased insurance through thefederally-operated exchange, Healthcare.gov, while 3.1 million gotplans through the 13 state-run exchanges.

|

Four million of the enrollees were new to the exchange; the restwere returning customers.

|

“The Marketplace is growing and getting stronger and the ACA hasbecome a crucial part of health care in America,” said Burwell in astatement.

|

HHS also noted that because of improvements to its website, theenrollment figures it announced reflected the actual number ofpeople who signed up for insurance and were approved. In the past,the reported enrollment numbers may have been overstated, sincethey did not take into account those who were ultimately notapproved, either because they cancelled the policy themselves orbecause they were denied by an insurer.

|

HHS also highlighted the unique programs that New York andMinnesota have implemented to provide low-cost insurance to thepoorest individuals eligible to buy insurance on the marketplaceexchange. Both states have directed the federal subsidies availableto those between 138 percent and 200 percent of the federal povertylevel into “basic health plans” that offer plans that often costless than $20 a month and have much lower out-of-pocket costs thanplans on the marketplace.

|

The department also touted the improved operation of thefederal marketplace. During the entireopen enrollment period, the federal exchange received more than14.5 million calls, including over 930,000 in Spanish. The averagewait time for calls was more than 10 minutes, but Spanish speakerswaited only 26 seconds on average.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.