Government projections may be too ambitious
Last year, the Obama administration declared the Affordable Care Act a success, as it had expanded the availability of health insurance coverage to some 8 million people throughout the United States. These people were able to find coverage through insurance exchanges, through which several private companies offered policies. Consumers also had access to subsidies from the federal government, which have made health insurance more affordable for many people. The success of insurance exchanges lead federal officials to believe that many more people would sign up for insurance coverage this year.
Country faces significant challenges when it comes to promoting health insurance coverage
By the end of 2014, enrollment in health insurance exchanges had fallen to 6.3 million, but federal officials had predicted that enrollment would increase by 44% by the end of this year. The Department of Health and Human Services has revised these predictions, however, suggesting that enrollment will be several million below initial projections. The agency believes that a massive campaign, comprised of thousands of field workers, would be needed in order to increase enrollment by any significant margin. Such a campaign would be a costly effort for the government and these is no guarantee that it would be successful.
Government aims to have 10 million people enrolled by the end of the next open enrollment period
The federal government intends to have some 10 million people enrolled in health insurance exchanges by the end of the next open enrollment period. Health policy experts believe that this may be a difficult task, as many people have already expressed that they do not want insurance coverage. For some, coverage is too expensive and they are too healthy to consider insurance coverage necessary. Tax penalties may not be enough incentive to encourage consumers to purchase health insurance either, despite the fact that the penalty will be growing next year.
High insurance costs are making coverage unattractive to consumers
The next open enrollment period is scheduled to begin on November 1 this year, running through January 31, 2016. Consumers may be inclined to purchase health insurance during the open enrollment period, but decide not to due to the high costs associated with coverage. Many insurers are planning to raise premiums next year in an effort to recover from financial losses.