KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Can 7 Million People Enroll In Obamacare By March 31?

Experts debate whether the administration can meet its target by March 31. Through November, 364,682 have chosen plans -- well off the 7 million target -- but officials say they are on track because they expect a surge of signups towards the end of the open enrollment period.

The Fiscal Times: An Obscure Rule Could Boost Obamacare Enrollment
Administration officials claimed yesterday that they would meet their target of having 7 million people enrolled in Obamacare by March 31. Given the continuing problems with the website, combined with problems at the state exchanges, achieving that goal could be a very heavy lift. However, officials may have a trick up their sleeve. It's a little-known provision of the law called special enrollment -- and it might be Obamacare's secret weapon after open enrollment ends, according to health policy experts (Francis, 12/11).

USA Today: Analysts Predict Surge In Health Care Enrollment
The surge in health insurance enrollment in November lifted the spirits of federal officials Wednesday, but industry experts say the potential for higher enrollments comes from a huge pool of customers who are eligible for subsidies to buy insurance but who have not used the exchanges. The government quadrupled its enrollment numbers from October to November, with 364,682 people signed up for health insurance through either the federal or state exchanges, officials announced Wednesday (Kennedy, 12/11).

Medpage Today: ACA Enrollment Rising, But Not Fast Enough
But the enrollment numbers -- a combined 364,682 -- are still well off what they need to be to hit the Obama administration's target of 7 million enrollees in private coverage through the exchanges before open enrollment ends at the end of March, several health policy experts told MedPage Today. Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates in Alexandria, Va., noted that 20 million people will be uninsured and make too much to qualify for Medicaid. On top of that, untold numbers of people have had their current policies cancelled because they weren't ACA-compliant -- a figure that, while not known precisely, is sure to exceed ACA enrollment (Pittman, 12/11).

CNN: Obamacare Website Gets $47 Million Price Hike
The government has been cagey about revealing how much money has been spent to fix, but today officials revealed the overall price tag for the troubled Obamacare website has increased by $47 million. In Washington jargon, it is called an "increase in the total amount obligated" rather than a price hike. But the end result is the same (Aigner-Treworgy, 12/11).

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