Saturday, August 30, 2014

White House: 8 million people signed up for Obamacare

The president is probably happy with today's numbers. Robyn Beck / AFP

Eight million people signed up for Obamacare's insurance marketplaces between October and April 15, President Barack Obama announced Thursday.

The number comes in higher than the 7 million enrollees budget forecasters had predicted and after HealthCare.gov's botched rollout, which led to few sign-ups during the first couple months.

The White House reported a surge of signups toward the end of March, as the March 31 deadline for open enrollment loomed. The surge apparently continued until April 15, the extended deadline for those who ran into technical problems signing up by the end of March 31.

Enrollment

The number of young adults signing up for coverage may have also increased near the end of open enrollment. The White House said 28 percent of those who enrolled on the exchanges were between the ages of 18 and 34.

Young adults are watched particularly closely because younger people tend to have lower health-care costs — and if more of them sign up, that could help keep premiums slightly lower.

The White House's original goal for young adults was 39 percent — a target the final numbers miss.

The estimate doesn't indicate how many people paid for their first premium, which insurers considered the final step to getting insurance. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius estimated 80-90 percent of initial Obamacare customers already paid. If that holds true, 6.4-7.2 million will gain insurance through the health-care law.

The White House will release a full report on the numbers at a later date. That report should give a clearer glimpse into the demographics of those who signed up for Obamacare.

Further reading: For a breakdown of all the enrollment numbers that have come out in the past few weeks, check out our guide here.

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