Update (Tuesday, December 31): The Whitehouse confirmed today that more than 2.1 million Americans have enrolled for private insurance through Obamacare across the federal and state health marketplaces. Another 3.9 million Americans learned they’re eligible for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Health coverage will start January 1 for these individuals, many for the first time in their lives, although delays may occur for some due to the volume of new enrollees and the complexities with transitioning to the new law.
This morning the Obama administration announced nearly 1.1 million people have enrolled in health insurance since the program launched on October 1. This total only includes those that signed up via the federally-run Healthcare Marketplace and excludes totals from 14 state-run marketplaces, such as California and New York, as they have yet to provide their tallies. All-in, the total Americans enrolled in the new health care law is expected to be close to 2 million nationwide.
This December surge has been a strong reprieve from the initial technical challenges the administration experienced at the program’s launch. 975,000 enrolled in December wrote Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a blog post on Sunday. She added that it’s “a welcome surge in enrollment” which references the initial technical challenges and media struggles the program experienced at launch.
It’s still unclear how many of the 2 million people who have enrolled will actually have health coverage starting January 1 as many consumers may not have yet paid their first month’s premiums. Most insurers have said they will give people until later in January to make the first payments. However this will also raise new challenges starting January 1 as the large volume of new enrollees begin to visit doctors creating bottlenecks in hospital availability. Consumers may also not have updated or correct insurance records by then which may cause additional confusion and frustration across the board.
Nevertheless, 2 million enrolled Americans indicates strong progress and demand for the new health care law. The total sign ups was less the administrations goal of 3.3 million people by December 31, but the goal for the entire enrollment period, October 1 – March 31, is 7 million Amercians so there is still time remaining. The projection for 2016 is 25 million.