The federal and state exchanges have now surpassed the predictions made by the government.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, has announced that the health insurance exchanges established through Obamacare have now enrolled approximately 12.7 million Americans, which means that this year’s predictions have been exceeded.
The most recent open enrollment period came to a close at the end of January with strong results.
The government first started offering individual health insurance subsidies under Obamacare in 2014 but, at the same time, it applies a penalty to the people who do not obtain coverage. Across the country, 37 states allow customers to purchase their health plans – and apply for their subsidies – over HealthCare.gov, the federal insurance exchange. The remaining states, and Washington D.C., operate their own online marketplaces. On January 31, the 2016 coverage open enrollment period came to a close and now that the results have been tallied, it looks as though the actual enrollments were greater than forecasts had predicted.
The Obama administration’s forecast for enrollments through Obamacare, this year, was about 10 million.
The predictions made by Avalere Health were not that different, suggesting that there should have been around 10.2 million people enrolled through the insurance exchanges by January 31, this year. However, with an estimated 12.7 million enrollments, it appears that the Affordable Care Act is actually reaching a considerably larger number of people than expected.
As of yet, health insurance companies have been finding it challenging to generate a profit through the federal and state run exchanges. Low enrollment numbers have caused the per-customer overhead to remain high and have turned this coverage into a notably riskier venture than is comfortable for many insurers.
Moreover, throughout 2015, skyrocketing medical costs have also presented a challenge to insurers. A few have already reported that that medical products and services have led to an unsustainable loss. Some have considered withdrawing from the exchanges after 2016, depending on the way the year actually plays out.
In terms of the performance of Obamacare on the HealthCare.gov site, specifically, there were about 4 million new enrollments, while 5.6 million Americans chose to come back and purchase their health insurance again this year, either through renewal of the same policy or shopping for a new one.