Enrollments Almost 10% Lower Than Earlier Estimate
As the nation prepares for the second round of enrollments under the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” the Administration announced on Thursday that total enrollment for the first year had been significantly below what was originally announced. Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced that about 7.3 million Americans have paid for their new Obamacare plans and remained enrolled, down more than 9 percent from the May estimate of 8.1 million. The highly-touted May estimate was based on the number of individuals who completed the enrollment process and selected a plan on either the Federal exchange or a state exchange. The drop is blamed on a significant percentage of those individuals opting to not actually pay for their policies.
What This Means Going Forward:
With the next enrollment period right around the corner, the new numbers make the prospects of reaching the Congressional Budget Office’s projected target of 13 million by the end of this year’s enrollment more difficult. Complicating the picture are new reports that suggest that many of the most popular plans will see double-digit premium increases this year. While consumers can change to less expensive plans, few are expected to do so as the Federal system will automatically re-enroll them.
The Bottom Line:
While the initial numbers for enrollments are better than expected after the disastrous roll-out of the HealthCare.gov exchange last fall, the exchange concept remains a work in progress and still has a ways to go before it can be said to be truly effective.