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From Health Law Daily, April 18, 2014

Eight million Americans enroll for coverage via Health Insurance Marketplaces; ACA’s savings highlighted

By Danielle H. Capilla, JD

Eight million Americans enrolled in a health insurance program through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) during its first open enrollment period, according to President Obama. These numbers indicate a higher level of enrollees than previous reported, as initial reports at the close of open enrollment indicated 7.1 million Americans had gained coverage (See Goal of 7 million signups met for first ACA open enrollment period). The ACA’s first open enrollment period ran from October 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014. Open enrollment for 2015 coverage will begin on November 15, 2014, and will end on February 15, 2015.

In a briefing on April 17, 2014, President Obama attributed the increase in data that continues to come in, and stated that “35 percent of people who enrolled in the Federal Marketplace are under the age of 35.” An additional 3 million young adults under the age of 26 were able to stay on their parents’ plan. Enrollment of healthy young Americans is seen as a crucial part of the ACA’s success (See Moodys examines impact of higher-or-lower-than-expected insurance exchange enrollment and Numbers of uninsured are falling in 2014).

President Obama also noted that premiums under the ACA were lower than expected, resulting in $104 billion in savings over ten years, while Medicare and Medicaid costs in 2020 are projected to be $180 billion lower than the 2010 estimates (See New estimated costs for ACA health coverage provisions are lower than previously projected). This is due to historically low rates of growth in Medicare spending per capita. As of February 2014, more than 3 million more Americans were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP than before the Marketplace opened, and this enrollment continues year-round.

A Congressional Budget Office estimate indicates another 5 million people enrolled in health insurance plans outside the Marketplace, The Administration also highlighted other important savings and figures, including the 71 million Americans with private insurance who have gained coverage for at least one free preventive health care service, and the 8 million senior citizen who have saved nearly $10 billion on prescription drugs thanks to the closing of Medicare’s Part D “donut hole” (See ACA’s gradual closure of Part D “donut hole” saves an average of $1,265 per beneficiary).

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