As many as 2.1 million people will start their experience with Obamacare tomorrow.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on a press call Tuesday that as of Dec. 28, 2.1 million people had enrolled in a private insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges. Roughly half enrolled through the federal marketplace.
Sebelius added that 3.9 million Americans were determined eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in October and November.
“We’re working to ensure any American who wants to enroll in coverage between now and March 31 is able to do so,” Sebelius said.
The numbers fall far short of the initial goal to hit 7 million enrollees by March 31, but December saw a steady spike in enrollment after HealthCare.gov was fixed. With open enrollment halfway over, Sebelius said they’re encouraged by the totals.
The number of people who have actually paid premiums and will be able to use their coverage starting Jan. 1 is unclear. HHS officials also declined to offer specifics about the enrolled population — such as racial, ethnic, and age demographics — as well as the number who will benefit from the premium tax subsidies designed to make insurance more affordable for low-income consumers.
HHS officials also said they did not know how many of the enrollees were previously uninsured and how many were transferring from previously canceled coverage. They fielded 2,400 calls to the special hot line for consumers with canceled policies.
And while there are no new issues with the consumer “834” data forms that are sent from the exchange to the insurance companies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille said the process to remedy faulty transmissions is ongoing.
Consumers who signed up for insurance through the exchanges should call their insurance company to verify that their premium payment has been received and that they are officially enrolled in coverage.
Once enrolled, consumers will have an insurance card to present when receiving services. Those who need services before they receive their card should ask their insurance company about other proofs of purchase. In the short term, CVS and Walgreens will accept other ways of confirming coverage if individuals have not yet received their cards, Sebelius said.
HHS officials added that consumers should verify with their insurance company which health services are covered by their company before seeking treatment. Some 10,000 customer-service trained representatives will be on hand at the call centers on New Year’s Day for consumers with further questions.
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