About 13 million people got coverage under the new Obamacare exchanges, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program during the first open enrollment season of the Affordable Care Act. Many had been uninsured at the time they signed up, according to official data released by the administration Thursday.
The report adds details to the snapshot President Barack Obama gave two weeks ago when he announced that exchange enrollment had passed eight million – exceeding goals and expectations for an open enrollment season that got off to a disastrous start.
About 28 percent of the exchange enrollees were in the 18 to 34 age bracket. Most got subsidies.
The report did not say how many people have paid their first premiums – the final step in getting covered. The industry predicts the number will be about 85 percent; GOP critics argue it will be much less.
“At this historic moment, we’re one big step closer to finally realizing the president’s dream of an America where there truly is opportunity for all,” outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on a call with reporters.
The Health and Human Services enrollment report found that of the 5.18 million people who applied for financial assistance and chose a plan, just 13 percent told the government that they had coverage at the time of the application. Data for the state exchanges wasn’t available.
It is not complete data, but a small sampling on a key question. Critics of the health law have suggested that most people getting covered were already insured — and that many were compelled to switch to the exchanges after their old health plans were cancelled. But insurance officials and states collecting data have found that more Americans are getting covered, although the precise numbers may be elusive for some time.
The total on the federal and state exchanges as of mid-April – 8,019,763 – includes about 2.2 million young adults, roughly 28 percent of total enrollment. That’s a less robust figure than administration officials initially hoped for but one built on a huge surge of interest in the final month of enrollment.
An additional 4.8 million people were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program at the end of March compared to the enrollment level before Oct. 1. The Medicaid enrollment numbers may rise once figures from state agencies come in.
More than a third of the sign-ups came from three states with large numbers of uninsured residents, including California, where 1.4 million people signed up, Florida, which saw 980,000, and Texas, which saw 730,000 sign-ups. The next closest states were New York and North Carolina, which each signed up more than 350,000 residents.
Although the report’s overall numbers hewed closely to data already released by the White House, it also included for the first time details on the demographic breakdown of exchange sign-ups. About 63 percent were white, compared to 17 percent African American, 11 percent Latino and 8 percent Asian.
More than eight in 10 enrollees qualified for subsidies to help purchase health insurance on the exchanges, according to the report.
People who signed up for insurance in the exchanges are most likely to have picked a “silver” plan – considered an average level of benefits, co-pays and deductibles. About 54 percent of total them, were women compared to 46 percent who were men