Tag: Healthcare.gov

Obamacare Enrollment Blows Away Expectations at Nearly 9 Million, Despite Shortened Sign-Up Window

by Dan Managan via cnbc.com

Final open enrollment numbers for the Obamacare federal marketplace were surprisingly strong, with 8.8 million customers selecting a plan by the sign-up deadline, officials said Thursday.’

In the final week of enrollment, 4.1 million people signed up on Healthcare.gov, with 1 million of those being new customers, according to snapshot figures published by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday.

CMS said, however, that these figures are not final because they do not include those who signed up after midnight Friday, Eastern Time. These numbers also do not account for people who were in line to enroll and left their callback number.

The high level of demand came despite fears that an enrollment season cut in half and a sharp reduction in outreach budgets would depress the number of sign-ups. The sign-up season, the first full one under the Trump administration, ran from Nov. 1 through last Friday — but many customers were unaware of the deadline.

The number of people who enrolled in the plans sold on Healthcare.gov, the federal marketplace that serves 39 states, was just about 400,000 fewer than the number that signed up during the prior enrollment season.

Lori Lodes, co-founder of the Get America Covered campaign, said these enrollment numbers are “huge.” She said the sign-up totals from the final week of enrollment were “likely the biggest in the history of the marketplaces.” Lodes, who served as a top health care official in the Obama administration, said these figures are an “incredible indicator of just how much people want quality, affordable coverage.”

“No wonder the administration scuttled their plans to release the enrollment numbers yesterday. Despite [President Donald] Trump declaring Obamacare dead just yesterday and all of his administration’s efforts to undermine enrollment this year, we saw record demand and enrollments,” she said.

Larry Levitt, senior vice president of special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, tweeted that he was “very surprised” that enrollment was only down slightly year over year. “That didn’t seem possible with a 90% reduction in outreach, an enrollment period cut in half, and a constant refrain that the program is dead,” Levitt said on Twitter.

There is now a chance that the final enrollment tally for all of the United States could match or exceed the 12.2 million people who signed up throughout the country in the last sign-up period.

Nine state-run Obamacare marketplaces are still selling individual health plans that take effect in 2018. Officials at a number of those exchanges have reported higher enrollment this season than last season. Washington state’s Obamacare marketplace said enrollment so far this year is 35 percent higher than the same time period last year. California’s exchange, the nation’s largest state-run marketplace, said sign-ups are 10 percent higher.

Also, people in a number of Healthcare.gov states — including all of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and more than 50 counties in Texas — are still allowed to enroll in Obamacare plans because of a waiver given to those affected by hurricanes this year.
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#Obamacare Sign-ups Near 500,000 in 1st Week of 2014 Enrollment

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About half a million people selected a health insurance plan in the first week of the 2015 enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, according to a new federal report that underscores huge progress since last year, when website problems made signing up for coverage nearly impossible.

From Nov. 15 to Nov. 21, the Department of Health and Human Services announced, 462,125 people signed up for a plan through HealthCare.gov, the federally run insurance marketplace that serves 37 states nationwide.

Tens of thousands of additional people signed up for coverage on state-run marketplaces in the remaining 13 states, including California, Maryland and Connecticut, and the District of Columbia.  California reported last week that more than 11,000 people had selected plans in the first four days of open enrollment.

The HealthCare.gov total — which is split roughly evenly between new enrollees and people renewing coverage they had in 2014 — is a major advance from last year, when the website did not work for more than a month.

Just 106,000 people signed up for coverage in the first month of open enrollment last year.

This year, it appears that the site is working far better. Administration officials said Wednesday it had not crashed since it opened, though it had twice directed users to an online “waiting room” that is deployed when there is high volume or other technical issues with the site.

In total, more than 3.7 million users visited HealthCare.gov in the first week of the new enrollment period, according to the health agency.

And in another indication of improvement, wait times at call centers around the country averaged only a little more than three minutes.

Still, it remains unclear whether the Obama administration will be able to hit enrollment targets by the time the sign-up period closes in 2 1/2 months.

The tally released Wednesday counts only plan selections, not the number of people who have paid premiums, which is usually lower. Consumers have until the middle of December to pay in order to guarantee they have coverage starting Jan. 1. Continue reading “#Obamacare Sign-ups Near 500,000 in 1st Week of 2014 Enrollment”

As Deadline Looms, Obamacare Has Already Led to Health Coverage for 9.5 Million

obamaWASHINGTON — President Barack Obama‘s healthcare law, despite a rocky rollout and determined opposition from critics, already has spurred the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century, national surveys and enrollment data show.

As the law’s initial enrollment period closes, at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gained coverage. Some have done so through marketplaces created by the law, some through other private insurance and others through Medicaid, which has expanded under the law in about half the states.  The tally draws from a review of state and federal enrollment reports, surveys and interviews with insurance executives and government officials nationwide.

The Affordable Care Act still faces major challenges, particularly the risk of premium hikes next year that could drive away newly insured customers. But the increased coverage so far amounts to substantial progress toward one of the law’s principal goals and is the most significant expansion since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

The millions of newly insured also create a politically important constituency that may complicate any future Republican repeal efforts.  Precise figures on national health coverage will not be available for months. But available data indicate:

• At least 6 million people have signed up for health coverage on the new marketplaces, about one-third of whom were previously uninsured.

• A February survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found 27% of new enrollees were previously uninsured, but newer survey data from the nonprofit Rand Corp. and reports from marketplace officials in several states suggest that share increased in March.

• At least 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have signed up for state Medicaid programs, according to Rand’s unpublished survey data, which were shared with The Times. That tracks with estimates from Avalere Health, a consulting firm that is closely following the law’s implementation.

• An additional 3 million young adults have gained coverage in recent years through a provision of the law that enables dependent children to remain on their parents’ health plans until they turn 26, according to national health insurance surveys from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• About 9 million people have bought health plans directly from insurers, instead of using the marketplaces, Rand found. The vast majority of these people were previously insured.

• Fewer than a million people who had health plans in 2013 are now uninsured because their plans were canceled for not meeting new standards set by the law, the Rand survey indicates.

Republican critics of the law have suggested that the cancellations last fall have led to a net reduction in coverage.

That is not supported by survey data or insurance companies, many of which report they have retained the vast majority of their 2013 customers by renewing old policies, which is permitted in about half the states, or by moving customers to new plans.

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The Newfound Success of Obamacare – More Than 6 Million Americans Covered So Far

ObamaCare-SuccessThe Obama administration announced on Tuesday that more than 6 million Americans have obtained health insurance through the new health care law, a major achievement for the president and his team, which has been sharply criticized for a sloppy rollout of “Obamacare” that included a website that barely functioned for weeks.

In the last three months, according to the administration, about 2.1 million Americans have enrolled in private health care plans through the law. Another 3.9 million have been determined eligible for either Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, both of which were expanded under the Affordable Care Act.

These numbers vindicated the administration, which had predicted that the struggles of October, when Americans across the country complained about the website, would not permanently harm the health care program. Only 106,000 Americans enrolled in private plans in October, far below expectations, but more than 1 million did in December. Administration officials had predicted enrollment would surge in December, as that was the deadline for purchasing insurance that would start by Jan 1.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Helps Explain Obamacare Benefits For Parents

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As the holidays approach, the Obama administration has drummed up its efforts to educate the public on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Through press calls, a strong push in social media, and other methods, the Health Department has been dedicated in demystifying the the ACA and encouraging the use of the Health Insurance Marketplace. First Lady Michelle Obama (pictured left) adds to this new push by offering a heartfelt editorial for Babble on the importance of the Affordable Care Act for parents.

Late one night about 12 years ago, our baby daughter Sasha woke up sick. When we took her to our pediatrician the next morning, he took one look at her and sent us straight to the emergency room. He was worried that Sasha might have meningitis – and he was right, wrote the First Lady.

But we were lucky. While our finances weren’t exactly in great shape back then – we were still struggling to pay off our student loans and pay down our mortgage – we had health insurance. So during the three long days Sasha spent in the hospital, our only worry was about her health because we knew the bills would be covered. And fortunately, while her care must have been terribly expensive, it didn’t come anywhere near triggering her lifetime insurance caps.

The emphasis of the piece was the Affordable Care Act’s elimination of insurance cap limits set by companies and the now-illegal practice of denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. In times past before the historic passing of the bill, families struggled to keep up with expensive premiums as a result of health conditions, such as asthma, cancer, or diabetes.

Additionally, the children of these working families remained on their parents’ coverage but eventually faced the looming specter of aging out. As the First Lady notes in her piece, the Affordable Care Act provides many safeguards against the detrimental insurance practices of the past. Now children can remain on their parents’ coverage until the age of 26.

Pre-existing conditions adding to higher costs are now a thing of the past, and there are no longer cap limits on insurance. Uninsured families can now visit HealthCare.gov and choose from a list of affordable plans; they may even qualify for assistance for the monthly premiums. Read First Lady Michelle Obama’s special op-ed here.

article by D.L. Chandler via newsone.com

Surprise! Obamacare Now Projected To Cost Hundreds Of Billions Less Than Expected

We Love ObamacareAmidst the dark skies of the Healthcare.gov launch, some daylight may finally be emerging with respect to one of the critical goals of the Affordable Care Act—bending the cost curve of America’s expensive healthcare system.

According to a New York Times report out Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office has quietly removed hundreds of billions of dollars from the projected costs of Obamacare, primarily the result of an anticipated decrease in the federal government’s contribution to the Medicaid expansion program along with the projected cost of the subsidy payments to those buying private insurance policies on the healthcare exchanges.

Why the good news?

The more favorable projections are the direct result of the slowing trend in the growth of healthcare spending over the past five years leading to a slowdown in rising costs. While, ten years ago, per-capita spending on healthcare had been growing by an average annual rate of 5 percent, that number was dramatically cut to 1.8 percent during the 2007-2010 period and reduced even further to 1.3 percent in the years following 2010.

Do we have Obamacare to thank for this highly successful “bending” of the cost curve? Naturally, the answer depends upon who you ask as there simply is no definitive way of knowing—yet.

While most economist believe that the lion’s share of the reduction is due to the sluggish economy—making Americans far more careful when it comes to making decisions regarding when or if to spend money on medical care—others believe that some of the plans built into the ACA designed to get people to spend less may actually be working.

Among Obamacare inventions that do appear to be paying off in lower healthcare costs is the government’s refusal to pay hospitals more when patients are re-admitted within 30 days of their initial discharge. Additionally, new plan designs engineered to reward providers for quality of care rather than for quantity of care may well be paying off in terms of lowering the overall cost of care.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation—widely regarded as an honest, non-partisan broker when it comes to healthcare issues and analysis—the declining increases in the cost of healthcare is 75 percent the result of economic factors and 25 percent a benefit of the cost cutting measures in the ACA that do, in fact, appear to be working.

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