HHS Reports ACA Enrollment At 3 Million
By Dr. James Palermo // January 25, 2014
NO DATA ON PREMIUMS PAID BY OR DEMOGRAPHICS OF ENROLLEES
With 9 weeks remaining in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA, aka Obamacare) initial open enrollment period, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Friday that more than 3 million people have now enrolled in private health plans available through the ACA exchanges.
In January alone, nearly 800,000 signed up for private coverage, suggesting that the pace of enrollment hasn’t fallen off in the new year.
KEY ENROLLMENT INFORMATION NOT YET AVAILABLE
However, HHS has not been forthcoming with data related to two lingering and crucial questions that are key to ACA success:
How many new enrollees have paid their first month’s premium, and how enrollment breaks down demographically—how many are young and healthy vs. older and have chronic illnesses?
It is also unclear exactly how many people who have enrolled were forced to shop the exchange after their policies, with which they were satisfied, were cancelled.
Although expressing continued optimism, the Obama administration is still well shy of its goal of 7 million enrollees by the end of the first open enrollment period–a goal it had set at the beginning of the October sign-up start.
That optimism is based partly on the fact that the front-end functionality of the ACA’s website, Heathcare.gov, has improved. However, the back-end operation that transmits the information to insurers is still problematic, and insurers continue to report frequent errors and problems from not having applications transmitted to them at all to getting duplicates.
For insurers and consumers the major issue is whether accurate information regarding enrollments happening at the front-end is getting transmitted to insurers, and right now that’s not happening consistently.