While January was a terrible month for winter weather, it was an excellent month for Obama’s signature healthcare law as HHS announced today more than 1.1 million new Americans enrolled in a private plan on the healthcare exchanges. This latest report provides a strong indication that the Affordable Care Act is gaining traction by consumers.
The total comes to 3.3 million Americans signed up since the marketplaces opened in October. It remains unclear how many people who have selected a health plan have actually paid and how many did not have insurance previously.
The total still remains short of the administration’s goal of 4.4 million enrollees, however January marked the first time the sign-up goal was met for a single month. California continues to lead the nation with 728,000 enrollees, more than twice that of any other state.
In addition, the new data suggests that more young people are enrolling as 27% were between 18 and 34 years old in January — 3% higher than in the prior three months. Young people are critical to the success of the program as it off-sets the risk to insurers for older consumers that typically have higher health care costs.
Obama officials hailed the latest report as evidence the new law is working:
“These encouraging trends show that more Americans are enrolling every day and finding quality, affordable coverage,” -HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
The report continues by noting that 82% of those who have applied for a health plan have qualified for subsidies. These are tax credits for individuals with low income that allow them to receive health insurance at a much lower cost per month. Consumers can check to see if they’re eligible using the tax credit calculator.
The enrollment period end March 31 and which times consumers must have insurance or face a tax penalty.