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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

ACA Health Insurance Enrollment Hits 7.1 Million

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The White House this week announced that enrollment in the state and federal health insurance exchanges surpassed 7 million upon the end of the open enrollment period Monday. The announcement surprised critics of the Affordable Care Act and even some of its supporters, who predicted that the website’s disastrous rollout last October portended weak enrollment.

President Obama made the announcement in a press conference with Vice President Joe Biden, saying “All told, because of this law millions of our citizens know the economic security of health insurance who didn’t just a few years ago, and that’s something to be proud of.” The Department of Health and Human Services is still analyzing data on how many health exchange enrollees were previously uninsured and how many who selected plans have actually completed enrollment by paying their first premiums. Recent polling from Gallup suggests that the uninsured rate has fallen consistently for several months, though it is unclear whether this trend is related to the Affordable Care Act exchanges or whether it will be sustained over time.

Though the official enrollment period is now over, new enrollments will continue to trickle in. People who could not finish their application before the deadline due to technical difficulties with the website will be allowed to complete it, and individuals who experience life changes such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child may enroll at any time. The 7.1 million figure also does not include Medicaid enrollment, which is open year-round.