KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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HHS Lowers Estimate For Health Law Sign-Ups

On Monday, Obama administration officials projected that between 9 and 9.9 million people would enroll in health insurance during the upcoming Obamacare open season. This range is below the 13 million projected earlier by the Congressional Budget Office.

Politico: Obamacare And The Low Expectations Game
The Obama administration is playing the expectations game when it comes to enrollment numbers for Obamacare’s second season. In its first projection Monday, the administration lowballed the number of Americans who it predicts will sign up for the exchanges that form the foundation of the health care law — estimating that 9 million to 9.9 million people would enroll by the end of 2015. (Pradhan, 11/10)

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Enrollment in 2015 Won’t Meet Forecast
Millions fewer people will enroll in private health plans under the Affordable Care Act next year than the Congressional Budget Office had predicted, the Obama administration said Monday. The developments are the latest sign that the law, which Democrats passed in 2010 to provide near-universal health insurance, is struggling to reach that goal quickly. Attracting new enrollees to the health law’s insurance exchanges has proven more difficult than advocates had predicted, and a slice of those who do sign up for plans haven’t kept up with premiums. (Radnofsky, 11/10)

The New York Times: Estimate Of Health Coverage Enrollment Leaves Room To Grow
The new estimate appeared to be part of an effort by federal officials to lower public expectations, so the goal would be easier to meet and to surpass. In addition, the new number could indicate that administration officials believe it will be difficult to find and enroll many of the uninsured while retaining those who signed up in the last year. (Pear, 11/10)

Los Angeles Times: Estimates Lowered Of How Many People Will Sign Up For Obamacare In 2015
The Obama administration has substantially scaled back estimates of how many people will sign up for insurance in 2015 through the federal healthcare law, projecting that millions fewer Americans will use marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. Instead of 13 million customers in the second year of the marketplaces, as had been predicted, the Department of Health and Human Services now says 9 million to 9.9 million people probably will get coverage by the end of next year. (Levey, 11/10)

The Associated Press: Admin. Dials Back Goal For Health Law Sign-Ups
With sign-up season launching this weekend, officials sharply dialed down expectations Monday for the second year of President Barack Obama’s health insurance law. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said she’s aiming to have 9.1 million paying customers enrolled in 2015 for subsidized private coverage through HealthCare.gov and state insurance markets. ... After a chaotic rollout last year, Obama's signature program faces an even tougher test this time around. The public remains skeptical and Congress is now fully in the hands of Republicans committed to repeal it. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/10)

USA Today: Feds Offer Cautious Health Care Enrollment Predictions
HealthCare.gov and state exchanges went live Sunday night for consumers who want to browse and compare plans before open enrollment starts. Once people start buying plans on Saturday, Department of Health & Human Services officials said they are expecting just 9 million to 9.9 million enrollees for 2015, far below the 13 million the CBO projected would have insurance and pay their premiums through the federal and state marketplaces by 2015. CBO's estimates were made before final data on 2014's open enrollment were completed. CBO also projected enrollment in exchanges would reach 25 million by 2017. That was based on CBO's assumption that along with the 13 million people in 2015, there would be 24 million signing up for 2016, and 25 million in 2017. (O'Donnell, 11/10)

McClatchy: Fewer Than 10 Million Expected To Enroll Under Health Law In 2015
Senior administration officials say there’s “mixed evidence” and “considerable uncertainty” about the CBO’s expectation of a large two-year movement away from job-based coverage and individual coverage purchased outside the marketplace. Those uncertainties and the history of slower enrollment growth in programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program suggest it could take four to five years – until 2019 –for the state and federal marketplaces “ramp up” to 25 million enrollees. (Pugh, 11/10)

The Baltimore Sun: Federal Officials Lower Expectations For Exchanges
The Obama administration has substantially cut estimates of the number of people who will sign up for insurance coverage in 2015 through the federal health law, projecting that millions fewer consumers will use marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. The Department of Health and Human Services had predicted 13 million people, including Marylanders, would get coverage from the marketplaces through next year. On Monday the agency revised that figure to fewer than 10 million. (Cohn and Levey, 11/10)

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