In case you haven’t heard, 7.04 million individuals enrolled in plans through the Exchanges upon the close of open enrollment on Monday. This figure exceeds the Congressional Budget Office’s projections (both the original and revised) and has been widely touted as an indicator of success of the ACA.
In California, 1.2 million had enrolled in Covered California by 2 a.m. March 31. In the week before the close of open enrollment, nearly 156,000 people enrolled and close to 400,000 accounts were created, shattering the previous records set in December.
The interest in coverage options available through the ACA was nothing short of outstanding in the days leading up to the enrollment deadline. The federal call center received 2 million phone calls on March 31. Covered California experienced such high levels of website traffic that technical delays and difficulties occurred, leading the Exchange to offer an extension to consumers who attempted to enroll in March but couldn’t due to technical issues.
As pleased as we were to have an enrollment estimate so quickly, the 7 million figure isn’t final. It will grow as individuals who started applications in late March complete them by April 15. Additionally, the number does not include final tallies of enrollment in California and several other major states. But we must also remember that this news reflects individuals who have selected plans, not necessarily paid premiums, thus some will fail to make their first payment and ultimately not enroll.
Implementation of the ACA is far from over, but we’ve made great strides. In the words of President Obama:
“Today should remind us that the goal we set for ourselves — that no American should go without the health care that they need; that no family should be bankrupt because somebody in that family gets sick, because no parent should have to be worried about whether they can afford treatment because they’re worried that they don’t want to have to burden their children; the idea that everybody in this country can get decent health care — that goal is achievable.”