ACA open enrollment reaches 6.4 million

Nearly 2 million sign-ups were new customers

Close to 6.4 million Americans bought a health insurance plan on in the first month of the Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment period, the Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday.

Roughly 30 percent of those enrollees, or 1.9 million, were new customers; the remaining 4.5 million were returning customers who chose a new plan. It's an "encouraging start," HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in the statement, adding that work remains to be done before the Feb. 15, 2015 open enrollment deadline.

Last year, 6.7 million Americans signed up for insurance through the federal exchange. Technical glitches plagued in the first year, with the site largely inoperable in the first weeks of the open enrollment period. This year, on the other hand, open enrollment had a mostly positive rollout.

The HHS statistics cover enrollment as of Friday, Dec. 19. Anyone who enrolled by Monday, Dec. 15 will have insurance coverage as of Jan. 1. The remainder will be covered as of Feb. 15.

Another 1 million have signed up for insurance through state-run insurance exchanges, according to the Fiscal Times, though not all states have reported their enrollment figures as of Dec. 15. Burwell said yesterday that a full 50-state report will be released next week.

Some states have revealed sign-up statistics--and, so far, they are encouraging. Covered California, for example, announced more than 592,000 enrollees, while NY State of Health announced 225,000 new customers and enrollment in the Maryland Health Connection exceeded 80,000.

Between the federal and state exchanges, it's possible that 9 million consumers will have selected a plan by the end of the calendar year, LifeHealthPro reported. Not everyone who selects a plan follows through, so it's likely that about 7 million people will have used the exchanges to both obtain and pay for healthcare coverage by New Year's Day, the article said.

The Obama administration has set a target of 9.1 million enrollees through the federal health insurance exchange by the end of the 2015 enrollment period. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office has predicted 13 million enrollees. Earlier this month, Avalere Health said enrollment should reach 10.5 million.

For more:
- read the HHS announcement
- here's the Fiscal Times article
- read the statements from CaliforniaNew York and Maryland
- here's the LifeHealthPro article

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