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White House releases updated figures on insurance enrollment

Saturday April 19, 2014
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About 8 million people have signed up for private insurance through the health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, according to the Obama administration.

Among the 36 states that use the federal exchange, 28% of the new enrollees are between ages 18 and 34, short of the approximately 40% insurers reportedly were seeking to balance out the costs of covering more people who are older and potentially less healthy.

An additional 5 million people enrolled in private plans that meet ACA standards by going through insurance brokers or directly through insurance companies, according to the Congressional Budget Office. “When insurers set premiums for next year, they are required to look at everyone who enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards, both on and off the [exchanges],” according to a White House fact sheet.

Also, 3 million young adults gained coverage by being able to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26, and as of February, 3 million were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program because of the expansion of those programs in 26 states.

Unknown numbers of people who signed up for insurance both inside and outside exchanges previously had policies, meaning they do not count toward the goal of reducing the population of uninsured Americans. Between expanded Medicaid, extended coverage for young adults and new enrollees in private plans, the CBO estimates a net total of 12 million people will gain insurance this year.

While 2014 enrollment ended March 31 for private insurance through the exchanges, eligible people can enroll in Medicaid and CHIP year-round. The White House noted that had all 50 states chosen to expand Medicaid, another 5.7 million people would have insurance by 2016.

Republicans in Congress continue to criticize the ACA, citing issues such as dropped coverage, increased costs and restricted access to providers for people who already had insurance.

Among the benefits of the laws thus far, according to the White House:

• Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions — including up to 17 million children — no longer have to worry about being denied health coverage or charged higher premiums because of their health status;

• 71 million Americans with private insurance gained coverage for at least one free preventive healthcare service such as mammograms, birth control or immunizations in 2011 and 2012;

• In 2013, 37 million people with Medicare received at least one preventive service at no-out-of-pocket cost;

• Approximately 60 million Americans have gained expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits and/or federal parity protections;

• Since the ACA was enacted, almost 8 million seniors have saved nearly $10 billion on prescription drugs as the law closes Medicare’s “donut hole”;

• 105 million Americans no longer have to worry about having their health benefits cut off after they reach a lifetime limit.


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