The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the enrollment figures for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the first time today. Across the country, nearly 850,000 applications have been completed through the health insurance Marketplace, around 106,000 of which have enrolled in a health plan. In West Virginia, 174 individuals have selected a plan through the Marketplace, although nearly 4,000 applications have been completed. These numbers do not include the nearly 60,000 working-age West Virginians who will be newly enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program beginning January 1, 2014.
Source: Health Insurance Marketplace: November Enrollment Report. November 13, 2013
The figures released by HHS today represent the first month of data from the opening of the Healthcare.gov website on October 1. The rollout of the Marketplaces has been quite rocky to say the least and for several weeks HHS and the Obama administration have been trying to lower expectations for the initial enrollment numbers. Originally, it was estimated that around half a million people would enroll in the first month. The majority, around 75 percent, of those who enrolled in a Marketplace plan did so through one of the 14 state-facilitated insurance exchanges, whose rollouts have generally gone much smoother than the federally run exchanges that West Virginia is a part of.
Although the number of enrolled plans in West Virginia is low, it is not very surprising considering the small individual market in West Virginia, in addition to the myriad problems with the website. Nevertheless, open enrollment continues through March 31 of next year and anyone who is already insured or who enrolls in a plan by that date will not face a penalty.
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