Administration's goals are in sight, despite slightly lower numbers.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that 9.9 million people have signed up and paid for insurance under President Obama’s signature health care law. The number of signees is slightly lower than a previous count, but well in sight of the administration’s goal of 9.1 million by the end of the year.
A report in the Houston Chronicle says that about 84 percent of the enrollees, some 8.3 million, are being subsidized by the government. This is the first report released since June.
The administration reported 10.2 million enrollees at the end of March, slightly ahead of the newest figures. Fluctuation is expected from month to month due to people changing or cancelling coverages as their personal circumstances change.
The enrollment in 2014 reached about 8 million in the early part of the year before finally settling at 6.3 million for the year. Keeping customers is a priority for the exchanges, with many saying it may take anywhere from three to five years before the exchanges reach their potential.
One of the biggest reasons for people dropping off the insurance rolls is that they were unable to verify their U.S. citizenship or immigration status. The report said about 423,000 consumers lost their coverage in the current year by being unable to provide the required documentation, with almost three-quarters of those since the first of April.
The largest decline was seen in Florida, losing more than 100,000 consumers. Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas also recorded declining numbers.
The current rate for those without health insurance in the U.S. stands at a historically low 9 percent. Most attribute the increased insurance numbers to the President’s Obamacare legislation, which set up private insurance markets subsidized by taxpayers, and expanded Medicaid in the states that adopted the exchanges.
The Supreme Court recently held that insurance subsidies would be available in all 50 states, whether the states participated or not, a major victory for the Obama administration.