April 18, 2014 — President Obama on Thursday announced that enrollment in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) marketplaces has reached eight million individuals, Reuters reports (Holland, Reuters, 4/17).
The final tally for the initial open enrollment period appears to be one million people higher than the Congressional Budget Office's original estimate of seven million.
The figure does not include those who purchased plans through private insurers outside of the marketplaces or the nearly three million U.S. residents who were determined newly eligible for Medicaid under the law's program expansion (Eilperin/Nakamura, Washington Post, 4/17).
Obama said the enrollment numbers show that the ACA is a success, adding, "We've got a sizable part of the U.S. population, for the first time, that are in a position to enjoy the financial security of health insurance." In addition, Obama challenged Republicans' continued criticism of the law, noting, "They still can't bring themselves to admit that the [ACA] is working" (Landler/Shear, New York Times, 4/17).
Obama added, "I think that Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of" the law, which has helped "millions of people" (Washington Post, 4/17). However, he said he was willing to consider changes to improve the law (Reuters, 4/17).
35% of Marketplace Enrollees Are Younger Than 35
In related news, Obama said that 35% of consumers enrolling in coverage through the marketplaces were younger than age 35, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports. The president made the comments during a meeting on Thursday with 44 state insurance commissioners (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/17).
The commissioners noted that Obama did not specify whether the figure referred to people ages 18 to 34 or just people under 35, including children, Politico reports. The 18-to-34 age group is seen as key to keeping exchange premiums low by offsetting the high health care costs of older, sicker enrollees (Cheney, Politico, 4/17).
Following the meeting, the Obama administration clarified that 28% of those who have enrolled in exchange coverage are between ages 18 and 34 (New York Times, 4/17). In total, Obama said the percentage of enrollees under age 35 reached 35%, including newly enrolled children (Washington Post, 4/17).
Analysts said young adults ideally should make up 40% of the enrollment pool (New York Times, 4/17).