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Health Enrollment Numbers Up For 2015

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More Residents Also Receive Financial Assistance

The 87 percent of individuals determined to be eligible for financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums counts as an improvement over the 80 percent of enrollees who selected plans during a similar period last year. (Courtesy of Chicago Defender) 

The 87 percent of individuals determined to be eligible for financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums counts as an improvement over the 80 percent of enrollees who selected plans during a similar period last year. (Courtesy of Chicago Defender)

by Stacy M. Brown
Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer

The first detailed analysis of enrollment into the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare – has yielded good news, particularly for those who may require financial assistance.

Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services in Southwest said 87 percent of those who selected 2015 plans through HealthCare.gov in the first month of open enrollment have received financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums.

“We’re pleased that nationwide, millions of people signed up for Marketplace coverage starting January 1. The vast majority were able to lower their costs even further by getting tax credits, making a difference in the bottom lines of so many families,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said.

The 87 percent of individuals determined eligible for financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums counts as an improvement over the 80 percent of enrollees who selected plans during a similar period last year.

Additionally, more than 4 million people in both the state and federal Marketplaces signed up for the first time or re-enrolled in coverage for 2015 during the first month of open enrollment.

Burwell said the numbers include more than 3.4 million people who selected a plan in the 37 states that are using the HealthCare.gov platform for 2015 and more than 600,000 consumers who selected plans in the 14 states that are operating their own Marketplace platform for 2015.

The report also includes data for areas such as the District of Columbia, which use their own Marketplace platforms.

The report also revealed that the number of young adults signing up for coverage under the law remains low. Insurers rely on young people, who are generally healthier, to keep overall premiums low by offsetting the cost of older, sicker enrollees.

Last year, 23 percent of those who enrolled during the same time frame were adults age 18 to 34. This year during the first month, the number stands at 24 percent or “way below” where it needs to be, Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates LLC, told the Wall Street Journal.

“We need to get the young invincibles showing up to this,” Laszewski said.

Almost 60 percent of those who enrolled in new health care coverage between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 were women, which women’s groups greeted as promising news.

“For women, the Affordable Care Act means … greater peace of mind,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

In total, from November 15 to December 26, nearly 6.5 million consumers selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled in health plans under Obamacare.

When the new law was rolled out in 2013, many cited its effect on college students, self-employed workers, small businesses, veterans and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.

Further, officials at the Department of Health and Human Services said, because of the new law, the 92 percent of Washington, D.C. residents who already had insurance would now have more choices and stronger coverage.

For the 8 percent who do not or for District families and small businesses who buy their coverage but aren’t happy with it, promises of new options had arrived.

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