More than 1.14 million people signed up to buy private health insurance through state or federal online marketplaces in January, making it the first month the Obama administration has beaten an enrollment target.
The surge in January enrollment brings the total sign-ups to nearly 3.3 million, according to recently released federal data.
The marketplaces were created under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, to provide a way for uninsured Americans to buy individual health insurance at an affordable price.
“We’re seeing a healthy growth in enrollment,” Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, told reporters in a conference call. “The covered population is getting younger,” she added.
It’s true that the number of young adult enrollees between 18 and 35 slightly increased from October-December to January, from 24 percent to 27 percent. But that’s still significantly lower than the targeted 40 percent set by the Obama administration. The younger, healthier enrollees are crucial to holding down the cost of premiums for health insurance sold through the marketplaces.
Though overall enrollment is still 1 million people short of projections, mostly due to HealthCare.gov’s botched launch, the Obama administration and health policy experts anticipate another surge in enrollment next month.
Open enrollment continues through March 31. Purchasing individual health insurance through a marketplace is the only way to become eligible for a federal subsidy to help people afford the premiums.
Are you unable to get affordable health insurance through a workplace or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid? If so, you are likely eligible to buy individual health insurance through an online marketplace. Have you tried it? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.