Published March 17, 2014
With just two weeks left until the end of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that 5 million people have signed up for health insurance.
The updated figure moves the Obama Administration closer to its goal of hitting six million enrollees on both state and federal exchanges under the law’s first year. Just last week, the administration announced 4.2 million enrollees.
Of last week’s pool of enrollees, 25% were between the much-needed ages of 18 and 24. Monday’s announcement did not include a demographic breakdown.
The White House’s enrollment goal was revised down from its original projection of 7 million enrollees in year one with 2.7 million of them being young Americans. The younger demographic is necessary to keep the insurance pools balanced to help offset the costs of insuring older and less healthy people.
The Department of Health and Human Services counts enrollees as anyone who has selected a plan on either a state or the federal exchange. Typically, the insurance industry counts individuals as enrolled once they have paid their first month’s premium.
During her testimony on HHS’ budget for 2015 last week, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told members of Congress that she had “no idea” how many people had made their premium payments because the government does not collect that information. But an insurance industry insider confirmed to FOXBusiness.com that HHS does have those stats but is failing to release them for political reasons as it would lower the enrollment count.
Under the ACA every individual in the country has to have insurance by the end of open enrollment period on March 31, or they will face a fine of $95 or 1% of their annual income for failing to comply with the law.