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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Health Insurance Enrollment Rises in February as Uninsured Rate Drops

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Enrollment in the state and federal health insurance marketplaces slowed slightly in February even as a new Gallup poll showed a drop in the uninsured rate for the second consecutive month.

Data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week showed that 942,000 Americans signed up for health coverage through the state and federal marketplaces in February, a number that was slightly down from January selections (1.15 million). Since the start of open enrollment on October 1st, more than 4.2 million individuals have now selected a Qualified Health Plan through the marketplaces. About 83 percent of enrollees were eligible for federal financial assistance with their premiums. This data does not include Medicaid enrollment. HHS says that “while the total number of new Marketplace plan selections was slightly lower in February… the rate of Marketplace plan selections is expected to increase as the March 31, 2014 end of the initial open enrollment period approaches.”

Meanwhile, data from a new Gallup poll showed that the U.S. uninsured rate has dropped to 15.9 percent, the lowest point since 2008. Polling indicates that the uninsured rate has dropped the most among lower-income Americans (those with a household income of $36,000 or less). It has also dropped precipitously among black Americans, while Latinos remain the most likely to be uninsured. The poll does not indicate whether these reductions in the uninsured rate can be attributed to the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions nor whether the trend will continue over time.

Wanted: Eligibility & Enrollment Panelists for Annual Conference

The National Council is running a session at our Annual Conference on eligibility and enrollment and is looking for Navigators and Certified Application Counselors (CAC) who can speak to their experiences on enrollment assistance; share success stories and lessons learned; and provide information and resources on how non-grantees can get involved. The National Council is also looking for C-suite leaders who can address the financial implications of enrollment for Community Behavioral Health Centers and why their involvement is important to sustainability. If you are interested in participating on the panel or have suggestions for engaging speakers, please contact Alanna Tievsky at AlannaT@thenationalcouncil.org.

Image via Gallup.