Following a strong start, enrollment in the QHPs sold at Health Insurance Exchanges set up under the ACA has fared vitally. As of December 2015, over 8.3 million people have signed up for health insurance through these exchanges. Meanwhile, 6.4 million people registered through healthcare.gov website the year before. Enrollment goals set by the administration feature for 2015’s 9.9 million people to maintain coverage through 2016.
A fair share of the recent hike in enrolment numbers can be explained by individuals having coverage from the past year being automatically re-enrolled in their plan. This has been going on a lot despite the administration urging consumers to shop each year, so that the amount of financial assistance from financial quarters can be modified accordingly each year.
It is likely the administration will achieve its reenrollment goal. However, the number of people enrolled in ACA health plans might still fall short of the projections brought out when ACA was formed in 2010. The legislation was made law by President Obama, and at the time, it was assumed that over 20 million people would be enrolled. The administration had also announced that almost twice the number of under 35 individuals enrolled in 2015 as the year before. But until only 2 million of that age demographic have signed up for a health plan.
Emphasis on enrolling younger citizens has been one of the points ACA needed to stick to, since these individuals are easier and less expensive to insure where providers are concerned. Enrolling a certain number of the people below their middle years can offset the cost of more expensive enrollees, who have already been signing up en masse. Insurance companies like UnitedHealth can many state co-ops have been struggling under the losses ACA has brought them.
The numbers cited here are representative of the 38 states that use a Federal HIE. These will be combined with the numbers form states, which have their own separate exchanges. It is still unclear whether improved marketing, risk of higher penalty, or some other reason is driving the current surge in enrollment.
In 2016, the penalty for an individual failing to have ACA approved coverage is at $969, which is 41 percent over the past year’s $661. The mandatory penalty was brought in more than three years back. A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows 3.5 million eligible individuals are still without coverage.