Obama administration: 7.3 million who picked health exchange plans paid their premiums

That number, which reflects the tally of people who obtained insurance via the health law, fell slightly from the estimated 8 million mark that was released in the spring. It means that at least 700,000 consumers who initially signed up for a health plan let it go.

The New York Times: Health Care Act Still Covers 7.3 Million
The Obama administration said Thursday that 7.3 million people who bought private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act had paid their premiums and were still enrolled. Marilyn B. Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, disclosed the latest count at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Pear, 9/18).

Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Enrollment Falls Slightly To 7.3 Million In August
Enrollment in health plans offered through the Affordable Care Act dropped slightly through this year, falling from about 8 million this spring to 7.3 million in mid-August, the Obama administration announced Thursday. The tally represents the first update the administration has provided since the April close of the open enrollment period (Levey, 9/18).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Administration Says 7.3 Million Who Picked Health Plans On Exchanges Have Paid Premiums
The Obama administration said Thursday that 7.3 million people who picked health plans through the new insurance exchanges had paid premiums and retained their coverage as of mid-August, suggesting that at least 700,000 people who signed up for coverage earlier this year later let it go. The number of people with paid-up coverage has long been the subject of contention. ... Paying is the final step necessary for people to enroll in coverage (Radnofsky, 9/18).

Politico: 7.3 Million In Obamacare Plans, Beats CBO Forecast
The administration's announcement that 7.3 million people are now enrolled in health insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges immediately ignited a new round of arguments about the success or failure of the health law. ... But it's much higher than the 6 million that the Congressional Budget Office forecast would be covered this year, a number that seemed unattainable when the botched launch of HealthCare.gov slowed signup to a crawl last October (Haberkorn, 9/18).

The Associated Press: Health Law Enrollment Now 7.3M
As expected, the latest figures showed slippage. Insurers had said that about 10 percent of their new policyholders failed to seal the deal by paying their first month's premium. Tavenner, whose agency oversees HealthCare.gov, said the new count represents paying customers as of Aug. 15. She expects total enrollment to remain basically stable until the next open enrollment season starts Nov. 15 (9/18).

McClatchy: HHS Says 700,000 Have Lost Insurance Coverage Since May
After enrolling more than 8 million people into marketplace health insurance this year, roughly 700,000 have lost their coverage, Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner testified Thursday before Congress. Her surprise disclosure came during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in which Republicans blasted Tavenner about a lack of transparency and ongoing data security problems with the HealthCare.gov website (Pugh, 9/18).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Enrollment Reaches 7.3 Million In August
The figure, announced by Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is 9 percent lower than the government's estimate in May that 8 million had signed up for Obamacare plans. That estimate didn't reflect how many people had paid their premiums and were actually covered by health insurance. The number has been long sought by Republican lawmakers who oppose the law. Tavenner released the new figure at a hearing yesterday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington, where Republicans opposed to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act peppered her with questions about the security of the insurance website and the destruction of e-mails she wrote before the site opened for business (Wayne, 9/9).

In other coverage-related news -

Oregonian: Oregon's Uninsurance Rate Cut More Than Half Following Federal Health Reforms, Researchers Say
The number of uninsured Oregonians has dropped 63 percent, from 550,000 to 202,000 people, since national health care reforms took effect, researchers say. An estimated 95 percent of Oregonians now have health coverage, up from 86 percent last year, according to a study released Thursday by Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon Health Authority. The study results echo the anecdotal experiences of local hospitals and other providers, which say they've seen a huge drop in uninsured patients (Budnick, 9/18).

And on the Medicare Advantage front -

Reuters: U.S. Says Medicare Advantage Enrollment At All-time High
Elderly Americans have enrolled in privately managed Medicare health plans in record numbers even as average premiums continue to rise, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said on Thursday. The agency said the average Medicare Advantage premium would increase by $2.94 a month next year, to $33.90 per month, but 61 percent of enrollees will not see any premium increase at all. Based on Medicare Advantage bids, CMS projects that plan enrollment will grow to just over 16 million in 2015 from 15.6 million this year, an increase of 3.17 percent, spokesman Raymond Thorn said in an emailed statement (9/18).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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