More Than 1M Enrolled in Health Insurance in January

3:38 PM, Feb 12, 2014   |    comments
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Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - More than 1.1 million people enrolled in health insurance through state and federal exchanges in January, and more young-and-healthy people also signed up for coverage, the government announced Wednesday.

That's 3.3 million now enrolled in private plans, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Officials said enrollment for people ages 18 to 34 had increased from 489,460 at the end of December to 807,515 by Feb. 1, an increase of 65%. Other age groups went up by 55%.

About 1.4 million people had enrolled through state-based marketplaces, and 1.9 million through the federal marketplace.

Health officials anticipated enrollment to grow in January, because problems with the federal health website have been fixed and bigger marketing campaigns by the federal and state governments had started, said Donna Frescatore, executive director of NY State of Health.

Some states have already reported higher enrollment figures. As of Tuesday, New York state had 412,221 private insurance enrollees since Oct. 1, and 31,000 had enrolled during the first week of February. About 66% of them had not been previously covered by health insurance.

Among Medicaid beneficiaries, between 1.1 million and 1.8 million of the 6.3 million enrollees since Oct. 1 were determined to be eligible for Medicaid between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, according to a new survery released by Avalere Health.

Medicaid applications have jumped 12% since the law took effect. That has risen to 19% in the states that have expanded Medicaid, said Caroline Pearson, Avalere's vice president.

Researchers, who used Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data, said they expected Medicaid to "grow substantially" throughout 2014.

Also on Wednesday, a new Urban Institute report showed that Americans who make $200,000 a year or more, about 2.4% of taxpayers, will make up 17% of the funding for the Affordable Care Act.

That, researchers said, shows the Affordable Care Act is not a "massive and unprecedented distribution of wealth."

Researcher Stan Dorn called the effects on well-off Americans "modest."

By 2019, .9% of the gross domestic product will go toward Medicaid and insurance subsidies, compared to the 3.9% that goes to Medicare, 5.6% that goes to Social Security and 1.9% that goes toward tax subsidies for employer-based insurance. Most of the funding will come from reduced payments to health care providers and taxes on the health care industry. This is offset, researchers said, by reimbursements for people who previously did not have insurance.

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