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Nearly 5 Million Enrollees in Exchanges Are New Customers, Says HHS

By Melanie Zanona, CQ Roll Call
March 11, 2016 -- Nearly 5 million new customers signed up for insurance under the exchanges established by the 2010 health care law, the Health and Human Services Department said Friday.
A final report on the third open enrollment period shows that a total of 12.7 million people either signed up or automatically renewed their health care plans for 2016, with 4.9 million of those individuals being new customers. About 76 percent of enrollees got covered in the 38 states that use the website, while 24 percent are signed up through the state-based marketplaces.
“Almost 5 million Americans were new to the Health Insurance Marketplaces this year and about 20 million uninsured Americans have gained coverage because of the Affordable Care Act,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in a statement. “This year’s customers are more engaged and better informed. New customers came in earlier because they wanted a full year’s coverage, and 70 percent of returning customers actively selected a plan."
The vast majority of consumers signed up for coverage with tax credits, which is similar to past years. In the states, the average value of a tax credit is $290 per person per month.
The administration touted figures that illustrate 3.5 million people who are signed up for coverage are between the ages of 18 and 34 – a key demographic to help sustain the health law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152.) Among new enrollees, 33 percent are in that age range, up slightly from 31 percent the previous year. Health insurers would prefer a higher percentage of customers to be young adults, but HHS maintained in a press release that the “overall percentage of plan selections for those ages remains stable.”
The report also highlighted statistics that show existing consumers who switched plans in 2016 saved an average of $40 per month, and that new customers signed up earlier this year compared to previous years.


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