Obamacare’s Latest Enrollment Numbers: Success or Failure?

Kaiser Health News: “The annual Obamacare enrollment numbers routinely draw debate. Supporters boast that millions of people have gained coverage.  Republican detractors stress millions remain uninsured because they can’t afford coverage and that not enough healthy young adults are enrolling. The latter issue threatens to make coverage uneconomical for insurers, causing them to lose money and raise prices or drop out of the exchanges.”

USA Today: “Nearly 13 million people signed up for health insurance ahead of the Jan. 31 deadline for 2016 on the state and federal exchanges, federal health officials said Thursday.”

“The numbers represent an increase of 4 million new people enrolled in the 38 states using HealthCare.gov. Of the 9.6 million consumers who got coverage through HealthCare.gov, about 42% were new to the exchange in 2016.”

“Supporters of the law were expecting an uptick in enrollment after a strong December and the typical lull over the holidays. About 700,000 people signed up in the last week of January, compared to more than 1 million in the last week of enrollment last year.”

The enrollment numbers “fall far short of the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate last March that 21 million would have ACA plans on average each month this year, a prediction that Gaba said was ‘insane.'”

Washington Post: Most repeat customers shopped for the best available health plan. “On the federal exchange, nearly 7 in 10 repeat customers shopped for coverage rather than let the computer system renew them automatically, and about three-fifths of those switched plans. Last year, nearly half let the computer system auto-enroll them.”

“The latest results show that the exchanges are making relatively little headway in attracting a group of customers that insurers consider vital to their financial well-being: young adults who tend to be healthy and thus cost relatively little. In the federal marketplace, 2.7 million people ages 18 to 34 signed up for coverage — 28 percent of the total, the same proportion as last year.”

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