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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Health Insurance Marketplaces Enroll 3.3 Million

February 19, 2014 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Last Wednesday, the Obama Administration announced that 1.1 million Americans enrolled in private health insurance coverage through the state and federal marketplaces during the month of January, surpassing the Administration’s goal for the month. Administration officials said the latest enrollment figures bring the total number of enrollees in both private plans and Medicaid to 9.6 million since open enrollment began on Oct. 1, 2013. However, cumulative enrollment continues to fall well short of the Obama Administration’s original goal of enrolling 4.4 million people by January. White House officials said they expect a surge in applications before the March 31 deadline to enroll in coverage.

The report showed a slight increase in enrollment among young adults, a group considered vital to keeping premium rates low in the exchanges.

Meanwhile, a new Gallup poll found that 16 percent of U.S. adults reported being uninsured, a drop of about 1 percent in the uninsured rate. This is the lowest number Gallup has recorded since 2009 and could be a promising indicator that the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions are taking root. Yet, it was not immediately clear how much of the reduction could be attributed to the ACA. Although more people are reporting getting their insurance through Medicaid or the private individual market (the ACA’s two primary means of coverage expansions), many unknown variables remain. Gallup cautioned that its polling on the uninsured rate has often fluctuated, and it will take several months to ascertain whether the lower rate is here to stay.