6M U.S. Residents Singed Up for Federal Exchange Plans as of Dec. 17
On Friday, the Obama administration announced that about six million U.S. residents signed up for health coverage through the federal exchange by Dec. 17, The Hill reports (Sullivan, The Hill, 12/18).
U.S. residents originally had until Dec. 15 to sign up for health plans through the federal exchange that would take effect Jan. 1, 2016. However, a rush of consumers overwhelmed the federal enrollment call center's capacity early last week, leaving some U.S. residents unable to enroll ahead of the deadline.
As a result, the administration on Dec. 15 announced a two-day extension, giving consumers until Dec. 17 to sign up for coverage that will take effect at the beginning of 2016. Several state-based exchanges -- including Covered California -- also announced similar deadline extensions.
The Obama administration has estimated that about 10 million U.S. residents will be enrolled in health coverage purchased through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges by the end of 2016. About 9.9 million U.S. residents were enrolled in exchange plans as of October, but that number likely will drop to 9.1 million by the end of 2015 (California Healthline, 12/15).
According to the Los Angeles Times, the federal exchange experienced a large surge in signups last week, pushing total enrollment through the exchange to about six million U.S. residents (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 12/18). In comparison, about 3.4 million consumers had selected coverage by this point last year (The Hill, 12/18).
According to HHS officials, more than 3.7 million people visited HealthCare.gov between Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, while the exchange's call centers received more than two million calls (Los Angeles Times, 12/18). Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt said Dec. 15 was the busiest day in HealthCare.gov history, with about 600,000 total signups through the federal exchange website that day (Attias, CQ News, 12/18).
Administration officials said 2.4 million of those who selected federal exchange plans so far during the ACA's third open enrollment period have done so for the first time. That figure is about one-third higher than the number of new enrollees around the same time last year.
HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan said, "The growth we're experiencing is incredibly encouraging."
Slavitt noted, "It's clear now that many people have been waiting to purchase coverage until this enrollment cycle" (The Hill, 12/18).
Meanwhile, about 968,000 individuals have selected health plans through nine of the 13 state-based exchanges, according to data collected by Modern Healthcare (Dickson, Modern Healthcare, 12/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.