January 9, 2015 – The numbers are in following the first big deadline for the second year of the PPACA exchange open enrollment. On December 15, consumers had to select a plan to have coverage beginning January 1 and returning consumers had to select a plan or be automatically reenrolled in their plan from last year or a marketplace-selected equivalent if prior coverage is no longer available. Heading into the deadline, about 2.5 million consumers had selected a plan, a roughly equal split between new enrollees and returning consumers. Nearly 4 million consumers selected plans in the deadline week, with an 83-17 margin of return consumers to new enrollees. The following week, enrollment numbers dropped considerably, with just over 100,000 new plan selections, bringing the cumulative total so far this season to 6.6 million enrolled consumers. The Administration has not yet announced enrollment data for the small business exchanges.
The next big deadline is January 15 for consumers who want coverage beginning on February 1, with February 15 marking the official close of open enrollment for the year. In October, the Administration estimated that there would be between 9.1-9.9 effectuated enrollees by mid-year 2015. Another big push in February, akin to the push at the end of last March, will be needed to make those enrollment predictions a reality. The current enrollment figures only include federal marketplace states, not those with state-based exchanges.
Also reported this week was a slight drop in the uninsured rate. Gallup, which began collecting data on the nation’s uninsured rate in 2008, marked a 0.5 percentage point drop between the third and fourth quarter of 2014. The rate now stands at 12.9%, which is 4.2 percentage points lower than it was in the fourth quarter of 2013, before exchange-based plans took effect