Approximately 87% of Americans who selected 2015 health insurance plans through HealthCare.gov in the first month of open enrollment are receiving financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums, higher than in the same period last year.
The number is significant because should the U.S. Supreme Court decide against the Obama administration in the King v. Burwell case it's scheduled to hear in March, consumers living in the 37 states relying on HealthCare.gov as their insurance marketplace could lose their premium subsidies.
HHS has yet to disclose if it has a contingency plan should a ruling come down that only those who buy insurance through state-established exchanges are eligible for premium subsidies, the main point of contention in the closely watched case.
The 87% coverage assistance level compares with 80% of enrollees who were deemed eligible for financial assistance last year during the first month of open enrollment. Those signing up this year also are skewing younger, with 33% under the age of 35, compared with 29% in the early months of the first open-enrollment period.
The report released last week also outlined for the first time HHS' enrollment estimates for the state exchanges, which it calculated had reached more than 630,000 enrollees as of Dec. 13.
That figure does not include the rush of last-minute signups states experienced between Dec. 13 and Dec. 15 for consumers racing to ensure their coverage would be active by Jan.1. With those numbers included, state data show that their enrollments hit 750,000.
HHS also revealed that nearly 100,000 people have signed up for coverage on HealthCare.gov since Dec. 19, bringing the total number of those who have selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled in their current plan to 6.5 million as of Dec. 26.