Update (7/15): 12.9 million have officially enrolled in Obamacare/ACA for 2015 (reported via ACASignups.com)
Original article (5/20): According to ACASignups.com, more than 12 million people purchased a qualified health plan (QHP) through an ACA exchange.
QHPs are ACA-certified insurance plans approved by the Health Insurance Marketplace. They must provide essential health benefits, follow established limits on cost-sharing (i.e., deductibles, copayments and out-of-pocket maximum amounts) and meet all other requirements. Additionally, QHPs are certified in each Marketplace in which it is sold.
Of these 12 million reported, more than 9 million beneficiaries were found to have obtained their policies through HealthCare.Gov, the government’s official website for healthcare coverage. But the 12-million mark may be too low, as it doesn’t factor in normal off-season enrollments, such as life changes, occurring in nearly every state since Feb. 22. Plus, as of this date, six state-based exchanges have not yet reported the figures for enrollments made during the tax season special enrollment period (SEP). Therefore, it’s predicted that the eventual exchange-based QHP enrollment figures could be as high as 13.7 million by the end of November, 2015.
During the government-approved six-week extended enrollment period – running from March 15 to April 30 — about 147,000 people signed up in the 36 federal exchanges, while another 100,000 or so enrolled in other states.
From March 15 to April 30, 147,000 consumers signed up for coverage through http://t.co/eTfU7hSMWR using the tax special enrollment period.
— HealthCare.gov (@HealthCareGov) May 19, 2015
Upcoming Supreme Court Case
Overall, this year’s open enrollment period was considered a huge success, both for the millions of newly covered Americans and the Democratic Party. The Republicans have claimed that the OEP’s high numbers were actually due to the Medicaid expansion. However, these results show that these 12 million are actually private plans purchased from ACA exchanges.
Several Republican-controlled states that refused to establish exchanges — including Florida, Arkansas, Maine, Georgia, Michigan and North Carolina – have used federal funds for their eligible residents’ healthcare coverage. However, the nation is currently waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on state-run exchanges (King v. Burwell).
At the heart of this case is the issue of states’ exchanges eligibility for subsidies; without these, millions nationwide will be unable to afford their coverage. According to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study, if the Court rules against the Obama administration, about 6.3 million people could lose coverage. Of this number, 82 percent have modest incomes, but are not poor, 62 percent live in the South and 61 percent are white. These are important populations for the Republicans, and the party could face a big backlash.
Americans are urged to enroll before the court’s decision in June to ensure they can take advantage of free government subsidies in case the decision no longer allows them.