According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 1.1 million Americans registered for health care through the federal marketplace between October 1 and December 24. The vast majority of them — 975,000 — registered in December.
The 1.1 million figure only includes the 36 states using the federal government’s site, HealthCare.gov, to handle registrations. There are fourteen states and the District of Columbia operating their own exchanges.
In addition, a large number of Medicaid enrollees were added during the Affordable Care Act introduction. As of November 30, more than 800,000 people were found eligible for the program, which insures the poor.
Those who missed the December 23/24 deadline for signing up for insurance can still sign up for insurance that starts February 1. The deadline for that falls on January 15. Open enrollment ends March 31, and most people without insurance by that point will pay a penalty of either 1% of their household income or $95 per person, whichever is higher.
The administration’s goal is to have 7 million people enrolled through state and federal exchanges for health insurance by the end of March. Given the slow start, that might be a stretch, but true success may be more dependent on who is signing up — young and healthy citizens as well as older and less healthy ones — than the actual numbers.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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