7.1 Million and More: Health Insurance Coverage Increases

Yesterday President Obama announced that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health insurance coverage through the health exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. The number slightly exceeded the original 7 million estimate of the Congressional Budget Office, which was later reduced to 6 million after the problem-plagued rollout of the website in October 2013.

If the last surge of enrollment in March holds true to the earlier sign-ups, it is possible that another 7 million individuals who went to the exchanges were determined eligible for Medicaid. The official DHHS report on enrollment as of the end of February showed 4.2 million selecting insurance plans and another 4.3 million determined eligible for Medicaid.

An additional but unknown number of previously uninsured Americans signed up for insurance directly from insurance carriers. In today’s NY Times, a spokesman for Highmark which issues health insurance in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia said that 30 percent of those they enrolled since October came to them outside the health exchanges. The large national insurer Wellpoint, according to the same article, expects one million new customers and has reported that 20 percent signed up outside the state and federal exchanges.