Update 1/8: HHS announced yesterday that 11.3 million Americans enrolled across all 50 states. The report also shows that 83% of all applicants received a government subsidy to help lower the cost of their insurance and the average subsidy was $297 per person, per month.
The latest enrollment figures released today by government officials show that it’s definitely a happy new year for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For this latest Open Enrollment Period, more than 8.5 million Americans had enrolled through the government’s Federal Marketplace.
This includes about 6 million plan renewals, indicating that the healthcare law is exceeding expectations. In fact, this current rate of sign-ups has boosted total enrollment numbers to as much as 14.7 million ACA enrollees by the end of 2016; this compares to last year’s 9.1 million. For Week 8 of this OEP (Dec. 20-26, 2015), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recorded 274,659 plan selections. Of these, 27 percent were new enrollees, while 73 percent were plan renewals.
Good news for both enrollees and the government
In total, since the OEP’s Nov. 1 start, the CMS has tallied a total of 8,524,935 enrollees; this includes an estimated 6 million Marketplace plan renewals. Of these, 2.4 million were automatically renewed and another 3.6 million physically enrolled through the Marketplace. The agency’s research also showed that by shopping for new Marketplace plans with the same coverage level, existing enrollees could save up to $600 a year.
“As 2015 comes to an end, I am encouraged to see Marketplace consumers showing how engaged they are with their health coverage,” stated Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “Millions of consumers that had 2015 coverage – an impressive 60 percent — came back to HealthCare.gov to update their information, explore the options available for 2016 and select the plan that best fits their needs. As we kick off the New Year and begin counting down to the final enrollment deadline on January 31, we will continue working to help more families learn about their options and sign up for coverage.”
To encourage transparency and accuracy, the CMS releases Open Enrollment snapshots, which are weekly, updated estimates of the ACA’s plan selections for the HealthCare.gov platform. These snapshots are used for those 38 states utilizing the Federally facilitated, State Partnership and State-based Marketplaces. They incorporate the CMS’ call center activity, and visits to its official federal websites: Healthcare.gov and CuidadoDeSalud.gov (for Spanish speakers).
These snapshots help enrollees stay aware of mandatory Open Enrollment deadlines. For those consumers failing to enroll by Jan. 31, 2016, tax penalties may be required. If so, they may face the greater of: $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, for a maximum of $2,085 per family; or, 2.5 percent of income above the tax filing threshold. But the CMS states that enrollees may change or cancel their plan coverage. And, the snapshots factor in plan selections, not actual paid premiums, which activate policies.