Healthcare Economy

Obamacare Sign-Ups Top 8 Million

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At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, President Obama announced that the number of Americans using the public exchanges to enroll in a health insurance plan rose to 8 million after the deadline passed for completing applications begun by March 31. By the end of March, sign-ups had reached the Obama administration’s target of 7 million enrollments.

The state of California, which runs its own exchange called CoveredCA, said Thursday that more than 200,000 consumers completed their applications between April 1 and April 15. The state has enrolled nearly 1.4 million residents since the sign-up period began.

In a Wednesday blog post at Gallup, there is this bit of startling news:

There has been a statistically significant and meaningfully large decline in the percentage of uninsured U.S. adults. The uninsured rate peaked at 18.0% in the third quarter of 2013, the highest rate measured since Gallup and Healthways began tracking in 2008. The uninsured rate has been consistently trending downward since then, falling to 15.0% in March and further to 12.9% for April 1-14 polling. If the rate for the first half of April holds throughout the month, it will be the lowest monthly uninsured rate in 76 months of tracking.

According to a second Gallup report on Wednesday, 4% of Americans who now have health insurance did not have health insurance last year. That represents about one-third of all Americans who say they enrolled in a new health insurance plan this year. The rest purchased replacement policies.

Another data point from Gallup: the newly insured are “much younger” than the overall U.S. population. The 18- to 29-year-olds account for 30% of all new health insurance enrollees, but only 21% of the overall U.S. population. More than a third of these Americans — 37% — did not purchase their insurance through the Obamacare exchanges, while 24% did.

Perhaps that explains President Obama’s request that his Republican opponents “admit the Affordable Care Act is working. I think we can agree it’s well past time to move on.” Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, responded with this tweet: “The repeal debate is far from over.”

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