With two weeks of open enrollment to go, Obamacare is still two million short of the enrollees the administration originally predicted. Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that five million people have now signed up through the government sponsored health exchanges. The White House had originally predicted an enrollment of seven million, however, the numbers were revised down to six million after a poor October 1 rollout.
While the pace of sign ups has picked up in recent months with 800,000 people joining in March and 1.1 million signing up in February, the demographics of individuals joining are still is not listed. The hardest task for the administration since the October 1 start date has been pushing for young individuals to sign up. According to Reuters, “Administration officials said their goal was for 38 percent of the new online private insurance marketplaces to consist of younger consumers… But the data so far shows young adults accounting for only one-quarter of enrollees.”
In addition, how many of the 5 million enrollees that will have their coverage enacted on April 1 is still unknown. In February, The New York Times released an analysis that stated as many as one fifth of all enrollees may not have paid their first month’s premium. According to The Times, “Under federal rules, people must pay the initial premium to have coverage take effect.” Humana, one of the larger insurers said that about 25 percent of enrollees had not paid, while Blue Cross Blue Shield reported around 20 percent had yet to pay.
California seems to be driving the new surge with a share of about 1 out of 5 sign ups nationwide. Politico reported that California’s exchange, Covered California, had just announced they reached over 1 million customers. According to the marketplace, by the end of Saturday’s enrollment they had reached 1,018,315 policy enrollments representing both individuals and family plans.
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