Nearly 12.7 million Americans selected or re-enrolled in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act's state and federal marketplaces, according to HHS data released Friday. The data confirm the government's initial estimates after open enrollment closed Jan. 31. Most enrollees qualified for financial assistance to help pay down the costs of coverage, a pillar of the healthcare reform law.
HHS also said that, as of Dec. 31, the ACA's marketplaces had 8.8 million paying members. The Obama administration said it expects that of the 12.7 million current exchange enrollees, 10 million will still be enrolled in their plans and paying premiums by year-end. Some enrollees will drop coverage or gain insurance through other means.
Thirty-nine percent of the 2016 enrollees were new to the marketplace, according to the data. About 28% were between the ages of 18 and 34, the highly coveted group of young adults and millennials who are often healthier, and viewed as the demographic to offset the costs of older, sicker people. As in the first two years of the exchanges, most enrollees have low or moderate incomes. Nearly 83% received premium subsidies, although the percentage varied greatly among states.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is touting that 90% of Americans now have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act's insurance expansion. Her opponent for the nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, countered last week that too many beneficiaries have coverage that isn't that comprehensive because of “outrageously high” deductibles and premiums.