The Obama administration announced 4.2 million people had enrolled in the new health insurance exchanges through February.
The number is short of the 7 million enrollees originally projected for the first year of full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and of the 6 million in the Congressional Budget Offices revised projection. The downward projection took into account the technical problems in October and November with the main website (Healthcare.gov) for buying insurance.
The open enrollment period for 2014 ends March 31. The administration expects a significant increase during the final month, but the feasibility of reaching 6 million remains uncertain. About 1.8 million people almost double the 943,000 who enrolled in February would need to enroll in March.
One key to sustainability of the exchanges will be the percentage of enrollees who are young adults. The rate of enrollees ages 18 to 34 was about 25% through February. The administration reportedly hoped the final ratio would be 40%, which seems unlikely. A lopsided number of older enrollees could affect premiums in the exchanges in future years by raising insurers costs.
The administration said 2.6 million people have enrolled in insurance through the federal exchange and 1.6 million in the 14 states that chose to run their own exchanges. Of the enrollees, 55% are female, 63% selected a Silver plan and 83% selected a plan and are eligible to receive financial assistance.
The administration has not revealed how many of the new enrollees did not previously have insurance. The ACA is projected to reduce the number of uninsured by 13 million this year when taking into account the exchanges and expanded eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Administration report: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2014/MarketPlaceEnrollment/Mar2014/ib_2014mar_enrollment.pdf