The revised enrollment figures for health insurance exchanges have now been released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The report shows that the number of consumers, who have maintained insurance coverage through March 2016, is about 11.1 million. This number is one million more than the number of users with active policy in the same period last year.
HHS announced previously that over 2 million individuals have signed up for health coverage for the first time, which was attributed to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation. However, many of these new people never paid their share of insurance premium and have got dropped from the coverage. The current 11.1 million enrollees count is in fact 13% lower than the original 12.7 million individuals, who enrolled at the end of the open enrollment time.
Officials said that the drop in the number of enrollees was not unexpected, and HHS earlier set its goal at 10 million individuals to be enrolled in Health Insurance Marketplace. The agency highlighted that majority of the individuals dropped off the coverage were not paying their insurance premiums. Besides, the current retention rate of 87 percent is in line with the goals and targets of HHS.
Reports show that about 85 percent of the 11.1 million covered individuals were getting financial help for premium payments via an advance payment if premium tax credit (APTC) policy, where 57 percent of the individuals were getting cost sharing reduction (CSR). Out of the 11.1 million individuals, 8.4 million were enrolled via the 38 Federally Facilitated Marketplaces, and the remaining 2.7 million were enrolled via State-based Marketplaces.
About 70 percent of the individuals enrolled in the program purchased silver-level insurance plans, but the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) introduced by ACA was still struggling. HHS said that the failure of CO-OP could be linked with the introduction of budget-neutral risk-adjustment program to bring stability to providers. However, as the budget-neutral risk-adjustment program resulted in a financial shortfall for proper plan and care providers, CO-OPs could not stand against its impact.
Although there is a great improvement in the number of enrolled individuals this year, the figures are yet to meet the expectations of the Congressional Budget Office. Nevertheless, the current rate of non-insured individuals in the country has gone done down to 9 percent, which is by far the lowest we have ever witnessed.