Nearly 6.8M Enrolled in Federal Exchange Coverage, HHS Data Show
On Wednesday, the Obama administration announced that about 6.8 million U.S. residents have enrolled in coverage through the federal exchange as of Jan. 9, Reuters reports.
The figure includes individuals who selected health plans and those who automatically were re-enrolled in their current or similar plans. The figure does not include the number of individuals who enrolled in coverage through the 14 states and Washington, D.C., that are running their own exchanges (Morgan, Reuters, 1/14). In addition, the figure does not specify how many individuals paid their first month's premiums, effectively completing the enrollment process (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 1/14).
According to federal officials, about 163,000 people enrolled between Jan. 3 and Jan. 9 (Reuters, 1/14). The weekly enrollment number is higher than it had been during the previous two weeks, but slower than it was during the weeks leading up to Dec. 15, 2014, which was the cutoff for coverage beginning Jan. 1 (CQ HealthBeat, 1/14).
Overall, 8,768,448 individuals have submitted coverage applications through the federal exchange since the Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment period launched on Nov. 15, 2014. In addition, more than 18 million people have visited HealthCare.gov since the start of the open enrollment period (Viebeck , The Hill, 1/14). However, the data showed that the number of individuals visiting HealthCare.gov to browse coverage options has decreased as of late. Between Jan. 3 and Jan. 9, slightly more than 580,000 individuals looked at health plans on HealthCare.gov, compared with 1,578,649 people who did so from Nov. 15, 2014, to Nov. 21, 2014.
Data Breaks Down State Enrollment
The data also provided an enrollment breakdown by state for the first time. It showed that Florida had the highest enrollment interest, with almost 1.2 million residents applying for or being re-enrolled in coverage since the open enrollment period began (CQ HealthBeat, 1/14). Enrollment also has been high in Texas, according to the data.
Meanwhile, enrollment remained slow in a handful of states that also struggled during the ACA's first open enrollment period, National Journal reports. According to the data, exchange sign-ups are lagging in Iowa, Nevada and Ohio.
At the same time, some states that fell short of enrollment goals last year are performing better so far this year. For example, Wyoming, which ranked close to the bottom in signing up eligible residents during the initial open enrollment period, has increased enrollment by 42% so far this enrollment period. In addition, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Nebraska have seen enrollment growth of at least 30%, according to the data (Baker, National Journal, 1/14).
White House Focuses on Latino Enrollment
In related news, the administration on Wednesday launched an effort to get Latino U.S. residents to enroll in health coverage through the exchanges before the Feb. 15 close of the open enrollment period, the Washington Times reports.
According to the Times, federal health officials and not-for-profit groups will work to overcome some Latino residents' fears that enrolling in health plans will place undocumented family members at risk of being deported. The administration and its not-for-profit allies said that outreach organizations are planning to hold 600 events with Spanish-language assisters to promote enrollment before Feb. 15 (Howell, Washington Times, 1/14). The groups will also use advertisements and efforts to reach Latinos online (Viebeck , The Hill, 1/14).
In addition, the administration touted improvements to the Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov, saying the website is working better than it did during the first open enrollment period (Washington Times, 1/14).
According to The Hill, the share of Latinos that enrolled in health plans overall as of Dec. 15, 2014, is slightly higher than it was during the first open enrollment period, with 8% of enrollees through the federal exchange identifying as Latino this enrollment period, compared with 7% in the initial period. However, the data might be skewed because not every enrollee shares their ethnicity (Viebeck , The Hill, 1/14).
Study: ACA Has Helped Decrease Uninsured by 7M
In other related news, the number of uninsured U.S. working-age adults has declined by seven million since the ACA was fully implemented last year, according to a Commonwealth Fund survey released Thursday, Modern Healthcare reports.
The survey was conducted between July 2014 and December 2014 and included responses from 6,027 adults.
According to the survey, about 29 million U.S. residents ages 19 to 64 were uninsured in 2014, compared with 36 million uninsured adults in 2012. Meanwhile, the survey found that the rate of uninsured adults declined from 19% in 2012 to 16% in 2014. According to Modern Healthcare, the share of uninsured adults has hit the lowest amount since the Commonwealth Fund began its biannual survey in 2001 (Demko, Modern Healthcare, 1/15).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.