In February 2013, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that 24 million people would buy health coverage through the federally and state-operated online exchanges by this year. Just 11.1 million people were signed up as of late March.Exchanges are marketplaces where people who do not receive health benefits through a job can buy private insurance, often with government subsidies.“Enrollment is key, first and foremost,” said Sara Collins, a vice president at the Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan foundation that funds health-care research. “They have to have this critical mass of people so that, by the law of averages, you’re going to get a mix of healthy and less healthy people.”A big reason the CBO projections were so far off is that the agency overestimated how many people would lose insurance through their employers, which would force them into the exchanges. But there have been challenges getting the uninsured to sign up, too.
There’s a strong element of irony here given the Obama administration’s stated position that health care reform should retain the employer-sponsored model that covers the majority of Americans under age 65. According to this report, it retained a bit too much — to the detriment of a robust individual market the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act insurance market reforms envisioned.
Need a speaker or webinar presenter on the Affordable Care Act and the outlook for health care reform? Contact Pilot Healthcare Strategies Principal Fred Pilot by email