In fact, current statistics show that participation is less than half of what it was expected to be by now.
Health insurance exchange enrollment is currently less than half of initial predictions. The lack of participation in the health care law as predicted has caused these marketplaces to undergo a considerable shift. Several major insurers have stopped selling their health plans due to the expense associated with them.
Recent Kaiser Family Foundation forecasts indicate that consumers will have far less choice next year.
Health reform analyst from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Cynthia Cox, said many counties will have plans sold by only a single insurer on the health insurance exchange. The main issue, says the foundation, is that the Affordable Care Act’s success depends on profitability for insurers. As long as enrollment in the insurance exchanges remains low, that cannot be possible. At least not to the degree necessary for the law’s widespread success.
By this point, the health insurance exchange sites were supposed to have about 24 million enrollees.
That said, according to the latest official statistics in March, there are only 11.1 million people enrolled.
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Commonwealth Fund vice president, Sara Collins, said “Enrollment is key, first and foremost.” She added that “They have to have this critical mass of people so that, by the law of averages, you’re going to get a mix of healthy and less healthy people.” That nonpartisan foundation provides funding for research in health care.
She explained that among the main reasons the original projections had been as inaccurate as they were was because of employer-based health coverage. The assumption had been that more employers would change their workforces in a way that would drastically reduce the number of people across the company who were receiving coverage as a part of their work benefits. Since far fewer employees lost coverage, they were not required to turn to the insurance exchanges to replace it.
Furthermore, it is clear that the penalty for failing to purchase coverage through the health insurance exchange isn’t great enough to encourage people to buy. The premiums and deductibles are causing people to think twice about buying health plans. This, despite qualification for subsidies and the risk of tax penalties.