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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Open Enrollment to Begin Nov. 15; HHS Lowers Enrollment Estimate

November 13, 2014 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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The Affordable Care Act’s second annual open enrollment period is set to start November 15, giving Americans the opportunity to select health insurance through their state or federal marketplace. Currently, 7.1 million people are insured through a marketplace plan. The Department of Health and Human Services has said its goal is to get 9.1 million people signed up for coverage during this year’s open enrollment, a number substantially lower than the Congressional Budget Office’s projection of 13 million. If fewer people sign up for coverage, organizations that treat the uninsured could feel the crunch.

Some Affordable Care Act opponents have seized on the revised estimate as an indication of the law’s failure to provide Americans with desirable and affordable insurance products. However, an HHS issue brief argues that the estimates are based on reasonable projections that differ from the CBO’s analysis, which was completed based on data collected before the close of 2014 open enrollment. For example, more Americans may remain insured through their employers or other off-marketplace options than had been previously anticipated.

HHS estimates that 83 percent of Americans currently insured through and state marketplaces will re-enroll for 2015. Of the projected new enrollees, HHS anticipates that 75-80 percent will have been previously uninsured before seeking coverage in the marketplace. Since the marketplaces and the Medicaid expansion began on January 1, 2014, the U.S. uninsured rate has dropped by 26 percent.

The open enrollment period ends February 15, 2015. For resources and information on how to enroll consumers in coverage, visit the Enroll America website.