“WASHINGTON—Millions fewer people will enroll in private health plans under the Affordable Care Act next year than the Congressional Budget Office had predicted, the Obama administration said Monday.
The developments are the latest sign that the law, which Democrats passed in 2010 to provide near-universal health insurance, is struggling to reach that goal quickly. Attracting new enrollees to the health law’s insurance exchanges has proven more difficult than advocates had predicted, and a slice of those who do sign up for plans haven’t kept up with premiums.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said the administration was aiming for 9.1 million paid-up enrollees by the end of 2015, though the range could extend to 9.9 million, according to a new analysis conducted by her agency.
The exchanges, which reopen Saturday for the law’s second year of insurance enrollment, were expected to have 13 million people enrolled in private health plans under the law in 2015, according to an April 2014 projection by the nonpartisan CBO.
Around 7.1 million Americans currently have private coverage through the law’s exchanges, the administration said Monday. That is down from the 8 million the administration said had picked plans as of this spring, and from a figure of 7.3 million paid-up enrollees in mid-August.”
“Mike Perry, a pollster who conducts research for supporters of the law, said recent focus groups with people who were uninsured after the first year of sign-ups made clear they were a “harder group to reach” now. “They know their budget, and their budget has no room,” he said.”
“HHS officials also released new figures on their efforts to clear up data problems from the first sign-up period. They said they had cut off tax credits for December for 120,000 households that hadn’t responded to requests for more information about their income.
Another 112,000 people have had their coverage terminated because the federal government couldn’t confirm they were legally residing in the U.S., they said. That number is down slightly from an earlier announcement that the government was cutting off 116,000 people over immigration and citizenship status issues.” - Health-Law Enrollment in 2015 Won’t Meet Forecast, WSJ, 11/11/2014
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