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Report: Almost 10 million will gain insurance in 2014 under ACA

Tuesday April 1, 2014
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Note: Information in this story was updated Wednesday, April 2.

At least 9.5 million people who otherwise would have been uninsured will have health insurance in 2014 through the Affordable Care Act, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The total includes those who signed up for coverage through the federal and state insurance exchanges, and those who gained access through the expansion of Medicaid in some states and by being allowed to remain on their parents’ policies through age 26.

Monday, March 31 was the last day of open enrollment for 2014. Healthcare.gov, the site that hosts the federal insurance exchange, experienced technical glitches that reportedly prevented some people from applying and enrolling in a plan.

The Obama administration previously said those who tried to enroll and were unable to do so would receive an extension. Uninsured people who did not at least try to enroll by March 31 and had not otherwise qualified for an exemption from the insurance mandate will be subject to a penalty on their 2014 tax returns.

Projected totals for enrollment through the exchanges likely will not be available for several weeks, given the number of people who might be eligible for an extension. President Obama announced that the total through March 31 had exceeded 7 million, the number the Congressional Budget Office originally projected would receive insurance through the exchanges. The CBO later revised the estimate to 6 million, citing technical problems with Healthcare.gov during the initial two months of the exchanges.

During an appearance March 31 on HuffPost Live, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, responded to criticism that the insurance available through the exchanges is not high-quality.

“It covers hospital visits, prescription drugs, mental health services and maternity care,” Sebelius said. It is “full insurance, and people can no longer ever be locked out because of a pre-existing health condition.”

Not everyone who enrolls through the exchanges is part of the projected total of 9.5 million newly insured. That’s because an unknown number people using the exchanges already had insurance policies and either chose to look for new coverage or had their old policies canceled because the policies did not meet the requirements of the ACA.

Furthermore, insurers will not start covering people until they have made their first premium payment. The number of people who have done so is not available, according to the administration.

Even if the 9.5 million figure went up significantly in the final days of open enrollment, the large majority of the approximately 48 million people who did not have insurance before the ACA will remain uninsured in the law’s first year of full implementation.

Los Angeles Times report: http://lat.ms/1gIAuce


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