Enrollment Breakdown: Who Has Signed Up?

At the close of the enrollment period, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) released a report stating that more than 8 million people signed up for a health insurance policy through a private health insurance company through either the federal or state marketplace. A large portion of the enrollment occurred during the final months of the enrollment period. Approximately eighty-five percent (85%) of these enrollees were able to receive financial assistance for their coverage.

The report also said that twenty-eight percent (28%) or roughly 2.2 million of those more than 8 million new enrollees to healthcare were people aged 18-34. This statistic is very important because it is the 18-34 year old demographic whose participation in the Affordable Care Act is vital to success of the entire program. This demographic is generally considered the most healthy, which means that they pay more into the system for their monthly premiums than they take out for claims, which helps to balance the number of cases where a person is taking out more to pay for medical claims than they are paying in for their monthly premiums.

The HHS report from April of 2014 also broke down the total number of enrollments for other demographics as well. The majority of enrollees in the program were over the age of 35. The data indicates that approximately 66% of the total number of people who signed up for health insurance on the federal or state marketplace during the 2014 enrollment period, were 35 years old or older. This amounts to 5,259,237 people. Additionally, there were approximately 497,522 people who were between the ages of 0-17 who also enrolled in health insurance through the marketplace. This figure equals 6%.

Although the number that has been widely publicized is the number of people who enrolled in insurance policies on the federal or state exchanges, which was more than 8 million, it is also reported that there were approximately 4.8 million people who enrolled in Medicaid, which means that if they lived in a state that expanded the eligibility requirements, they made less than 133% of the Federal Poverty Level, and if they lived in a state that did not expand the eligibility requirements, they made less than 100% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Additionally, approximately 5 million people enrolled in health insurance policies directly through a private insurance company and not through the federal or state marketplace. These people enrolled directly with an insurance carrier and not through the federal or state health insurance marketplace because they either received the help of a licensed insurance agent or they knew that they would not qualify for financial assistance either through a subsidy or a tax credit.

Another interesting statistic is the number of people who enrolled in each of the five different types or levels of plans offered on the marketplace. As you may recall, the Affordable Care Act required that people of every state be offered different plans that varied by price and coverage amount. The Catastrophic Plan, which is only available to people who are under the age of 30 years old or those who are eligible for a hardship exemption, has very low monthly premiums and covers less than 60% of your healthcare costs. The next level is bronze. The Bronze Level Plan generally has less expensive monthly premiums and pays 60% of your healthcare costs. The Silver Level Plan pays approximately 70% of your healthcare costs. The Gold Level Plan has higher monthly premiums and pays approximately 80% of your healthcare costs and you are required to pay the remainder and finally the Platinum Level Plan has the highest monthly premium costs and covers the highest percentage of your healthcare costs at 90%.

According to a recent report, approximately 65% of the total number of people who enrolled in health insurance picked a Silver Level Plan. A report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that nearly 46% of people who switched from their current healthcare and picked a plan from the federal or state marketplace said that their new plan under the Affordable Care Act was cheaper than their old plan. In addition, a little more than a third of those polled (39%) said that their new plan under the ACA was actually more expensive than their previous plan and the remainder said that their plan costs were substantially the same.
Projected Enrollment for 2015
The open enrollment period for the 2015 calendar year is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

The Department of Health & Human Services reported that during the 2014 open enrollment period, nearly 98 million people visited the federal marketplace website, Healthcare.gov, and state marketplace websites. Going into the 2014 open enrollment period, it was reported that nearly 42 million people were uninsured. Although many Americans chose not to sign up for health insurance during the 2014 enrollment season, they certainly learned about the law and their obligations especially considering the previously cited number of website visits. For this reason, along with many other factors including the increased tax penalty for the 2015 calendar year, the decreased anxiety and confusion about the laws and instructions to enroll and the more streamlined website enrollment process, it is projected that the percentage of uninsured Americans will fall to approximately 36 million in 2015. The Congressional Budget Office projects the number of enrollees to healthcare without limitation to the source (Medicaid, employer-sponsored, private carrier) will rise to 19 million in 2015.


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