Practice Economics

More than 90% of Americans have health insurance, HHS reports



About 12.7 million people have either selected plans or were automatically reenrolled through the federal or state-based individual insurance marketplaces during the open enrollment period for the 2016 plan year, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reported.

An additional 400,000 people in Minnesota and New York enrolled through the Basic Health Program, a state-based program that provides health insurance coverage to low-income individuals who would otherwise be eligible to purchase on the exchanges.

Sylvia Burwell Courtesy HHS

Sylvia Burwell

“As the Affordable Care Act has taken effect, more than 17.6 million Americans gained coverage through late last summer,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said during a Feb. 2 teleconference. “More than 90% of Americans are insured. That’s the first time this has ever been true.”

In detailing enrollment through the federal marketplace, HHS reported that of the 9.6 million people who received coverage through the exchange, 42%, or 4 million, were new enrollees.

“While we won’t know how this season’s sign-ups will precisely impact the uninsured rate until later in the year, it’s clear that, with these 4 million people who are new to Medicaid, and the improving economy, we will continue to make progress,” Ms. Burwell said.

The new enrollees are also important to “help refresh” the risk pools, Health Insurance Marketplace CEO Kevin Counihan said during the call. In responding to a question about larger insurers possibly bowing out of the exchanges, he noted that the higher utilizers of health care services were more likely to have joined in the first 2 years, and those new enrollees are likely to be in a different place in terms of their health care needs.

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