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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Affordable Care Act Health Coverage Begins for More than 2 Million Americans

January 2, 2014 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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As the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansions went into effect yesterday, more than 2 million people had signed up for health coverage through the federal and state insurance marketplaces, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Newly released CMS figures show that 1.6 million Americans signed up for coverage in December, with 975,000 of those enrolling through the federal Healthcare.gov site. That brings the total number of enrollees to about 2.1 million.

The Obama Administration’s original goal was to enroll 3.3 million people in coverage through both the federal and state-run exchanges. Administration officials noted that the open enrollment period runs through March 31. During that time, any individual who signs up by the 15th of the month will receive coverage effective the 1st of the following month.

Meanwhile, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has also surged. State officials reported that 3.93 million individuals were determined eligible for Medicaid and CHIP from October 1 to November 30, including both newly eligible and existing eligible individuals.

CMS Resources to Assist Consumers with Start of Exchange Coverage. Anticipating that many newly insured individuals will have questions about how to access healthcare services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has posted new information and resources on its website to provide assistance.

Individuals who have insurance for the first time or have new plans beginning on January 1 are likely to have many questions related to coverage, premiums payments, co-payments, and other issues and may need to reach their individual insurance plan. Information currently available on Marketplace.cms.gov includes the “Contacting your Health Plan’s Customer Service Phone Numberfact sheet, which includes instructions about how to contact insurance plans and a link to a database containing the customer service phone numbers for all of the Qualified Health Plans.

 

Consumers who signed up through Healthcare.Gov can also find out information related to their health plan by logging on their HealthCare.gov account or by contacting the Health Insurance Marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596.