Last night was the cutoff for signing up for health insurance on the new Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) healthcare exchanges. Despite a very rocky start and despite an incredible blitz of lies and propaganda against it by opponents, the program has met its first year target. Charles Gaba at ACASignups tracks the numbers so we don’t have to:
…in spite of everything–the terrible website launch of HC.gov and some of the state sites; the still-terrible status of some of the state sites even now; the actively-hostile opposition and obstructive actions in certain states, the negative spin on every development by some in the news media–in spite of all of this, over 7 million people nationwide enrolled in private, ACA-compliant healthcare plans between 12:01am on 10/1/13 and 11:59pm on 3/31/14…slightly surpassing the original CBO projection for that period.
Of course, the deadline isn’t that final depending on where you live and whether you already started an application or you fall into other special categories. Again, Gaba tells us:
the enrollment “extension period”, which is 15 days in most states, but which actually runs until April 30th in Oregon (without any “started by 3/31” requirement that I can see) and even all the way out until May 30th in Nevada (with the “3/31 start” requirement). Only 3 states (CT, RI and WA) aren’t offering any extension period at all, and I’m not entirely sure about Rhode Island as their press release was a bit confusing. I also have no idea know what the status of Hawaii’s exchange is.
Of course the 2nd open enrollment period kicks off again this November, but there’s also the other types of enrollments which haven’t ended, even for the current year.
- Medicaid has no cut-off date; if you qualify, you can enroll at any time.
- The SHOP exchanges (small business) don’t have a cut-off date. Most of them still aren’t functional (only about 70,000 people are covered by SHOP policies so far nationally), but some are, and they’re year-round.
- If you’re one of the 5.2 million Native Americans living within the U.S., there’s no cut-off for you either.
- Finally, for the rest of us, you can still enroll in an exchange-based QHP if you have a major life event such as getting divorced, giving birth, losing your job and so on.
This is a very good start for the country and for the economy. My own preference, documented elsewhere, was and still is for a single-payer system similar to Canada’s. But this is significant start.