As Open Enrollment Ends, The Uninsured Stay The Same
Despite 62 attempts by Congress to end the Affordable Care Act (and counting), open enrollment in insurance exchanges continues to move forward. This year’s enrollment has seen a few positive changes as far as the ones in charge are concerned, but there isn’t quite as much good news as there was in previous years.
The Uninsured Stagnation
In January of 2015, the number of uninsured US citizens was around 29 million. By the end of the year, nothing much had changed. The number dipped in the middle of the year, but it went back up afterwards. While this may be the lowest number of uninsured Americans since at least the 1970s, it’s still less than impressive compared to the 3 million drop which we saw in 2014.
Part of the problem is insufficient outreach. Many of these millions of Americans qualify for subsidized or free health care under the current ACA law, but they may be unaware of this fact.
The Growing Youth Sector
Despite the lack of movement in the number of uninsured, the federal and state exchanges have reported a definite increase in enrollments, particularly among the youngest demographic. This is an important change since insurance companies need to make a profit off of young, healthy policyholders in order to cover older policyholder as fully as the ACA demands.
In addition, exchange customers are coming to understand how to properly use the system. More than half of them checked their policies during the open enrollment period, and many of them switched to a new option.
Overall, federal observers are treating this past year as a success, although it’s probably not as dramatic a success as they would have liked. Either way, opposition to the ACA remains as immovable as always.
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