HHS reports 6 million people received health insurance on the New Year

Health Insurance rate increases

6 million new policies go active

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that nearly 6 million people now have active health insurance due to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Approximately 2 million people have received coverage from private insurers while 4 million have received coverage through government programs. The agency claims that this represents a major victory for the health care law and shows that insurance exchanges have managed to perform well despite their initial problems.

2 million people find coverage through exchanges

Health Insurance ratesAccording to the agency, the 2 million that have recently had their health insurance go active received their policies through federal and state-run insurance exchanges. These exchanges began open enrollment on October 1, 2013, and were plagued by technical difficulties that made it difficult, if not impossible, for many people to apply for coverage. Many of these issues have been resolved and millions of people have been able to enroll in exchanges throughout the country.

Expanded government programs provide coverage for more people

Some 4 million people are now benefitting from expanded Medicaid programs. Several states have opted to expand their programs based on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, making Medicaid coverage more accessible to a wider range of people. Some states have opted not to expand their programs, however, encouraging residents to instead seek out coverage through private sources or through state-based exchanges.

Uninsured face federal penalties

The Obama Administration had initially predicted that more than 7 million people would be newly insured at the start of 2014. While actual numbers have fallen short of that prediction, federal officials are still lauding the performance of health insurance exchanges and the expansion of government insurance programs. A new problem is on the horizon for those that were unable to obtain insurance coverage before January 1, however. Federal penalties for those that do not currently have active coverage are expected to be issued in the coming months.

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