Report suggests health care sign-ups nationally will meet one goal, fall short of …

31 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

36,000 Mainers selected plans on health exchange.

WASHINGTON — At least 7.1 million people so far have enrolled in 2015 health plans through the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces, according to a pair of federal reports issued Tuesday.More than 102,000 Missourians signed up in the first month of open enrollment for 2015 health insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday reported a big increase in new customers signing up for health insurance in Florida, Texas and other states using the federal insurance marketplace.Jason Stevenson, communications director for Utah Health Policy Project, says he’s seen a similar split in traffic to his group’s office and at TakeCareUtah.org, which lists information about health insurance and connects users to advisers. As of Dec. 26, 6.5 million people signed up for coverage in federally run exchanges — that includes new enrollments, people actively reenrolling, and existing customers who allowed their coverage to automatically renew, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ weekly enrollment update.

For 2014, the fine for adults who went without insurance is the greater of $95 per person or 1 percent of household income above the threshold for filing taxes. However, HHS said most states haven’t reported complete information about the number of reenrollments, meaning the actual enrollment count is likely higher. This is the second year of coverage available under what’s commonly referred to as Obamacare, a health insurance program for individuals who don’t have access to job-related coverage or Medicare.

States with large numbers of new customers in the federal exchange included Florida (330,000), Texas (205,000), North Carolina (110,000), Georgia (103,000) and Pennsylvania (95,000). Wendy Wolf, CEO of the Maine Health Access Foundation, which is leading the advertising effort for the exchange in the state, said it’s “really great news” that a large proportion of the sign-ups are coming from re-enrollees. “It tells us that people were overall pretty satisfied with their first year of being on the marketplace, enough so that they felt it was worthwhile to actively enroll,” said Wolf, who added her organization had set a goal of having 55,000 people sign up by the end of the open enrollment period on Feb. 15. More than 44,000 Maine residents signed up during last year’s six-month enrollment period, and advocates had feared many of them would opt to automatically re-enroll, which could cause their premiums to spike. The enrollment period is scheduled to end Feb. 15, just a few weeks before the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a lawsuit challenging the legality of subsidies provided through the federal-run exchanges.

Larry Levitt, a senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, “It’s significant that the largest number of new enrollees this fall came from states like Florida and Texas, which were not the most enthusiastic supporters of the health care law.” California, the most populous state, which led the nation with 1.4 million people insured through its state-run exchange in 2014, says it has added 144,000 new enrollees this fall, through Dec. 15. The latest numbers include people who took action to renew their coverage for 2015 or changed plans, but generally do not include people who were automatically re-enrolled in their current health plans. Even though the federal government has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to states to set up insurance exchanges, it has had difficulty enforcing standards for the reporting of enrollment data.

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