HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell this week said that 11.7 million U.S. residents signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) exchanges as of Feb. 22. The 11.7 million enrollment figure is up from 11.4 million as of Feb. 15.
The five states that enrolled the most people in coverage through there exchanges were:
- Florida (1.596 million);
- California (1.412 million);
- Texas (1.205 million);
- North Carolina (560,357); and
- Georgia (541,080).
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Enrollment is expected to continue to increase because of a special enrollment period through April for individuals who became aware of the ACA's penalty for not having coverage while completing their taxes. Enrollment could increase by several hundred thousand before the end of the special enrollment period, according to Charles Gaba, who operates ACAsignups.net.
Burwell underscores potential King fallout
Burwell also addressed the potential fallout from the Supreme Court case King v. Burwell, saying that a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would negatively affect millions of people who "need, want and like" their exchange coverage.
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Burwell said that latest enrollment figures are an example of the ACA's effectiveness, noting that a ruling in the King case could make subsidies illegal for those who enroll through the federal exchange. According to an Urban Institute analysis, a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would eliminate about $28.8 billion in subsidies to 9.3 million individuals in 34 states in 2016.
About 8.6 million individuals signed up for coverage through the federal exchange, about 7.7 million of whom qualified for average monthly subsidies of $263. Burwell noted that more than half of federal exchange enrollees will pay $100 or less in monthly premiums after subsidies.
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To emphasize her point about the potential King fallout, Burwell shared enrollment figures in states that use the federal exchange. She noted:
- About 1.5 million Florida residents receive an average of $294 in subsidies per month;
- More than one million Texas residents receive an average of $239 per month; and
- More than 500,000 North Carolina residents receive an average of $315 per month.
"These numbers show just how important the tax credits are to millions of Americans and to the insurance markets in those states," Burwell said (Howell, Washington Times, 3/9; Sullivan , The Hill, 3/9; O'Donnell, USA Today, 3/9).
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