Sebelius: We want 7 million in the exchanges by March

Administration moves to promote new marketplaces

The Obama administration on Monday announced an updated website and a new call center designed to help U.S. residents prepare for open enrollment in October and ultimately sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges.

In recent months, the White House has raised concerns about promoting the ACA too early, but with fewer than 100 days before open enrollment in the exchanges begins the administration's promotional campaign is kicking into high gear.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the administration is establishing the website and the call center in preparation for an influx of individuals who are expected to purchase coverage through the exchanges when open enrollment begins Oct. 1. In a statement, Sebelius said the new tools "have a simple mission: to make sure every American who needs health coverage has the information they need to make choices that are right for themselves and their families or their businesses."

Sebelius also set a goal of getting seven million individuals enrolled in the exchanges by the end of March, Politico reports.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 24 million U.S. residents will gain coverage through the exchanges by 2023, with about seven million in the first year.

Sebelius said, "We're hopeful that seven million is a realistic target and that we're going to be driving our efforts toward that kind of enrollment effort." She added, "And it's both about numbers and also hopefully getting a balanced risk pool" (Pear, New York Times, 6/24; Howell, Washington Times, 6/24; Haberkorn, Politico, 6/24; Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 6/24).

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