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Obamacare Sign Ups Surge As December 15 Deadline Nears

Today federal officials announced 1.38 million have enrolled in Obamacare so far during the 2015 open enrollment period which started Nov 15. This total only includes the 37 states that rely on the federal exchange,, and excludes the 14 states and the District of Columbia that run their own exchanges as well as the individuals that purchased plans through a private exchange (not Obamacare).

The enrollment pace has quickened recently as the first deadline to enroll is this Monday, December 15, in order to have insurance starting at the start of the new year. The report shared that enrollments nearly doubled last week which had 618,548 compared to the prior Thanksgiving week totals, according to the government report. Call volume and applications also saw major jumps as applications grew to 974,018 from 520,427 the week prior and calls received went to 982,000 from 484,876.

The total number of customers who selected by Dec. 5 was 1,383,683 plans and they were split pretty evenly between people renewing health coverage, 52%, and those that were new customers, 48%.

“Open enrollment’s momentum is building, and I’ve seen that firsthand as I traveled the country and talked to people, from Florida to New Jersey to Pennsylvania to Texas,” said Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

Even if consumers purchased a plan in 2014 and it will automatically renew, HHS is encoraging them to review rates and subsidies for 2015 as they may be able to find better and more affordable plan for their needs. They may also be eligible for additional subsidies to help cover their cost of insurance if they had changes in their income or family size, among other indicators.

California also announced their enrollment totals on Wednesday, stating they had nearly 50,000 new customers sign up in the first 2 ½ weeks of open enrollment. This total did not include renewals of which Covered California has more 1 million Obamacare customers.

“The pace of enrollment is very strong,” said Peter Lee, executive director of the Covered California insurance marketplace. He added that the rate of applications for eligibility and sign-ups far exceeded “what we saw last year” and that he was “very happy” with that result to date.

The 2015 open enrollment period runs from Nov 15 to Feb 15 and the administration expects there to be about 9.1 million enrollees by the end of 2015. The first major deadline to enroll is this for is Obamacare open enrollment season, the second so far, runs through Feb. 15. Most Americans are required under the Affordable Care Act to have some form of health insurance coverage by that day or be subject to a tax penalty equal to up to 2 percent of their adjusted gross income next year.

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