1/21 UPDATE: Now 7.1 Million enrolled according to a HHS blog post.
1/14 UPDATE: Now 6.8 Million enrolled according to a HHS blog post.
The Obama administration announced today that enrollments from the federally run exchanges exploded leading up to the key December 15 deadline and reached nearly 6.4 million signups since open enrollment started one month ago.
That 6.4 million total is a combination of 1.9 million new customers and 4.5 million who signed up in 2014 and renewed (most renewals happened automatically). This looks to put the program on track to far exceed the self-imposed target of 9.1 million enrollments by the end of 2015. The open enrollment period for health insurance policies purchased on these exchanges for 2015 started Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15, 2015. The totals also exclude nearly 10 million people who signed up for Medicaid or CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, since last October.
Most importantly, however, the data shows that more than 30% of existing customers took active steps to re-enroll, rather than opting to be automatically re-enrolled; this was more than expected as people tend to keep the same plans every year rather than comparison shop.
“This law is working, and families and businesses and taxpayers are better off as a result,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services. “We still have a ways to go and a lot of work before Feb. 15, but we do have an encouraging start.”
In October 2013, just over a year ago when the Marketplaces first opened, many questioned the sluggish start of enrollments and the mandate that every person have insurance or pay a fine at the end of the year, but the fact that demand has increased this year suggests Americans are embracing the new law.
“A month ago, people were raising questions about whether or not consumers would actually come to the marketplace,” Burwell said. “But the website is working, more insurance companies are offering policies compared to last year, and premium increases are modest on average.”
It’s important to note that these figures could still be higher. Some states, such as Minnesota, are still having technical challenges with their website and there are 22 states that have yet to expand their Medicaid programs for low-income individuals. If these issues improve the total enrollments should jump considerably.
Consumers have until February 15 to enroll in a plan and take advantage of valuable government subsidies to help them lower their monthly cost of insurance. About 80% of enrollees receive a subsidy and the average amount is $264 per month.
Those who already have a plan are encouraged to go back shop for plans again in 2015 as their are hundreds of all-new plans to choose from, many that may be cheaper than their current one. According to Health and Human Services, volatility in health insurance premiums means more than 70% of people who signed up for these plans could save money by changing to new policies.
Consumers can start enrolling here.