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Over 3M Enrolled Through ACA Marketplaces; January Numbers Surpass Targets

Over 3M Enrolled Through ACA Marketplaces; January Numbers Surpass Targets

February 13, 2014 — The Obama administration on Wednesday announced that nearly 3.3 million U.S. residents have enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) state or federal health insurance marketplaces since Oct. 1, 2013, Reuters reports.

The report includes enrollment data through Feb. 1 (Morgan, Reuters, 2/12). The figures include people who have and have not made an initial premium payment (Kliff, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 2/12).

Overall, the data showed 1.4 million U.S. residents had selected plans through state-run marketplaces through January, while 1.9 million chose plans through the federal marketplace. Officials said that enrollment for January was slightly above 1.1 million through the state and federal marketplaces (Pear, New York Times, 2/12). According to the report, the figures represent a 53% increase in enrollment between December and January ("Wonkblog," Washington Post, 2/12).

Administration officials said the latest enrollment figures bring the total number of enrollees in both private plans and Medicaid to 9.6 million since open enrollment began.

In addition, the data showed about 82% of exchange enrollees qualify for federal subsidies to help offset the cost of coverage (Reuters, 2/12).

However, the report did not specify how many of the new enrollees previously were uninsured (Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal, 2/12).

Young Adult Enrollments Rise

The report showed a slight increase in enrollment among young adults, a group considered vital to keeping premium rates low in the marketplaces, the New York Times reports (New York Times, 2/12).

For example, about 27% of January enrollees were ages 18 through 34, compared with 24% for the previous three months combined. Despite the increase, both figures are below the 40% threshold that research suggests would help keep marketplace premiums stable (Goldstein, Washington Post, 2/12).

The number of young adults enrolling in coverage also continued to lag behind enrollment among older U.S. residents, according to the Times. For example, the data showed 53% of enrollees in January were between ages 45 through 64, while individuals ages 55 through 64 accounted for 31% of new enrollments (New York Times, 2/12).

Women's Enrollment Outpaces Men's

The new enrollment figures included a breakdown of enrollments by gender. For example, the data showed that 55% of marketplace enrollees are women, compared with 45% of men. Men were slightly more likely than women to purchase "bronze" health plans, which are the lowest tier of coverage (Washington Post, 2/12).

Enrollment Surpasses Target for January, Still Behind Overall

The 1.14 million enrollment figure for January makes it the first month that enrollment surpassed federal expectations, "Wonkblog" reports.

According to "Wonkblog," CMS in September 2013 projected that about one million people would enroll in coverage in January ("Wonkblog," Washington Post, 2/12).

However, cumulative enrollment continues to fall short of the Obama administration's original goal of enrolling 4.4 million people by January.

White House officials said they expect a surge in applications before the March 31 deadline to enroll in coverage (New York Times, 2/13).