2015 Open Enrollment – How Will the Numbers Compare?

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The lasting image of the initial health exchange roll out is that of persistent technical problems that plagued the federal government’s insurance exchange website Healthcare.gov. At the start of the 2014 open enrollment period in October 2013, the online marketplace for federally-facilitated insurance exchanges was overwhelmed with a volume of potential customers the website was not designed to handle. A handful of state-based exchanges (e.g., Maryland, Massachusetts and Nevada) also witnessed technical glitches that hampered the enrollment process for countless applicants. It took months to fully correct these technical issues, but at the end of the open enrollment period, an estimated 7.3 million people had enrolled in an exchange nationwide. This final tally, released by Politico, is comprised of the 8 million people who signed up in the regular enrollment period less those who did not pay their premiums in time or dropped out of the exchanges for some reason. An additional 6.7 million people also enrolled in Medicaid during the open enrollment period. Continue reading

Health Insurance Exchange Enrollment Nearing Deadline, What’s Next?

HealthCareSignupDeadlineThe deadline to purchase insurance through the state and federal exchanges is March 31, 2014, which is less than two weeks away. From the start of open enrollment on October 1, 2013, to the end of February 2014, an estimated 4.2 million individuals have signed up for insurance through an exchange, while more than 4.4 million have signed up for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). People who are not exempt from the individual mandate and fail to sign up by the deadline may face a penalty of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child up to a maximum of $285 per family or 1.0% of family income, whichever is greater. Despite the millions who have enrolled in an exchange or Medicaid, many people will remain uninsured. Many low-income people, some of whom would qualify for premium subsidies and cost-sharing assistance, have never held an insurance policy. They do not understand the concept of copayments, deductibles, and monthly premiums. In fact, many have chosen to forego enrollment this go-around. Continue reading

The Individual Health Care Mandate of the Affordable Care Act: To Be or Not To Be?

ACA_forblogDebates are gripping Capitol Hill regarding the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The mandate requires individuals to sign up for private insurance or Medicaid by March 31, 2014 or face a penalty of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child up to a maximum of $285 per family or 1.0% of family income, whichever is greater. Continue reading