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Federal, state exchange enrollment reaches 3 million


By Paul Demko
Posted: January 24, 2014 - 5:45 pm ET
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Roughly 3 million people have now signed up for private health plans through the state and federal exchanges, the CMS announced Friday.

That's more than 40% of the Obama administration's goal of 7.2 million enrollments by the close of the open enrollment period on March 31.

After the disastrous October rollout of the federal HealthCare.gov website and similar problems with some state exchanges, enrollments have picked up significantly in the ensuing months. Fewer than 400,000 people signed up for coverage through the online marketplaces in October and November. But 1.8 million individuals selected coverage in the first four weeks of December. Since then, another 800,000 individuals have selected health plans.

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CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced the latest figures in a blog post Friday on the agency's website. “As our outreach efforts kick into even higher gear, we anticipate these numbers will continue to grow, particularly as we reach even more uninsured young adults so that they know that new options and new ways to help eligible individuals pay for their premium are now available, thanks to the Affordable Care Act,” Tavenner wrote.

The enrollment figures continue to come with a caveat. It's uncertain what percentage of individuals have actually made their first premium payments, which is required for coverage to be effective.

The CMS also has indicated that 6.3 million individuals qualified for Medicaid or the Children's Health Improvement Program in the last three months of 2013, although it's unclear how many of them were newly eligible for coverage because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The CMS did not provide updated figures for those programs on Friday.

Some of the largest state exchanges also have indicated significant enrollment growth so far in 2014. New York State of Health reported that it signed up 55,000 individuals for private plans between Dec. 24 and Jan. 10, bringing total enrollments to 285,000. Covered California announced that as of Jan. 15, 125,000 individuals had selected plans in 2014.

Paul Demko


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