- As of December 21, a total of 6.4 million consumers have enrolled in health plans through the Affordable Care Act exchanges on HealthCare.gov, reported the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in a fact sheet. The number of enrollees is higher by 400,000 people when compared to 2015 during the same time period.
Consumers looking to sign up for health plans through the Affordable Care Act exchanges have a deadline until January 31, 2017, said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. For state-based marketplaces, 39 states have deadlines of January 1 for enrolling in healthcare coverage.
“With a record 6.4 million consumers selecting plans for January 1, Americans are once again proving that Marketplace coverage is vital to them and their families,” Burwell stated. “Now, we want uninsured Americans who have not yet signed up to know they have not missed their chance to get covered. Open Enrollment for 2017 continues through January 31st. With most Marketplace consumers able to find coverage for less than $75 per month in premiums, uninsured Americans should join the millions of Americans who’ve already gone to HealthCare.gov to check out their options.”
The latest CMS results show 4.31 million returning consumers and 2.05 million new customers that have purchased plans through the Affordable Care Act exchanges from November 1 to December 19.
CMS reports higher demand this year than last year in terms of enrollment with 670,000 plan selections made on December 15, surpassing last year’s December 15th total of 600,000 sign-ups. Kaiser Health News reported last week that state-based health insurance exchanges also saw an increase in people signing up for health plans.
The state of Minnesota, for instance, has doubled the number of people who signed up for health plans through the exchanges when compared to the same time last year, hitting a total of 54,000 enrollees by December 19. The states of Washington, Colorado, and Massachusetts also saw increased enrollment of 13 or more percent when compared to December 2015.
“Enrollment is running ahead of last year,” Burwell said in a public statement. “Today’s enrollment numbers confirm that doomsday predictions about the marketplace are wrong.”
Some other states did not see as much of a spike in enrollment through the state-based health insurance exchanges. Maryland experienced a more moderate 1 percent increase while California’s enrollment numbers stayed at around the same levels and Connecticut saw a 3 percent rise. Rhode Island even saw a decrease in enrollment in state-based Affordable Care Act exchanges dropping from last year’s 31,900 to 27,555 sign-ups.
The current prediction from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) sets its sights on a 1.1 million increase in enrollment numbers for health plans through the public health insurance marketplace.
Even though the premium costs on the federal Affordable Care Act exchanges rose by 25 percent for 2017, the number of enrollees has not dropped and instead rose for the following year, which may be due to the tax subsidies available for certain low-income families.
Minnesota is one state that has even increased their government subsidies to reduce costly monthly premiums for their low-income citizens, which may have fueled the increased enrollment numbers in this state.
Time will tell how the health insurance exchanges will fare in the coming years, but 2017 enrollment numbers show that consumers are still looking for this marketplace to provide necessary healthcare coverage.