KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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With 1.1M New Health Law Sign-Ups, Total Enrollment Tracking Higher Than Last Year

Thursday is the deadline for the first open enrollment period on the federal and most state exchanges.

Bloomberg: Obamacare Sign-Ups Top 4 Million As First Deadline Approaches
More than 4 million people picked Obamacare plans in the 39 states that use the federal marketplace in the first six weeks of the 2017 sign-up period, the U.S. said Wednesday. The figure includes 1.1 million new customers and 2.9 million renewals through Dec. 10, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement. Sign-ups typically accelerate as the Dec. 15 deadline for Jan. 1 coverage approaches, and the government said more than 700,000 signed up on Dec. 12 and 13, without providing details. (Tracer, 12/14)

The Washington Post: Sign-Ups For 2017 Affordable Care Act Health Plans Run Slightly Ahead Of Last Year
The number of Americans signing up for 2017 health plans through is running slightly ahead of a year ago, even as President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican Congress prepare to dismantle the law that provides the coverage. Customers new to the Affordable Care Act marketplaces account for just 25 percent of the enrollment so far, however, compared with almost 40 percent at about the same time last year, according to figures released Wednesday by federal health officials. (Goldstein, 12/14)

USA Today: Obamacare Enrollment Deadline Looms Amid Questions About Replacement
Signups for Affordable Care Act plans gained steam earlier this month with more than 4 million people choosing 2017 plans on the federal exchange through Dec. 10, according to data out Wednesday. The pace continued this week despite vows by Republican officials that the law will be repealed soon after Congress returns in January and in time for the Trump administration. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell tweeted that more than 325,000 people signed up on the federal exchange on Monday and about that many chose plans on Tuesday. (O'Donnell, 12/15)

Morning Consult: Obamacare Sign-Ups Close To Last Year
More than 4 million people signed up for insurance coverage on Obamacare as of Dec. 10, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Wednesday. Of the 4 million sign-ups that have taken place since Nov. 1, 1.1 million have been from new customers, 2.9 million have been people renewing coverage. The sign-up period has been open for six weeks. (McIntire, 12/14)

CQ Roll Call:  Snapshot Shows 1.1 Million New Obamacare Enrollees
Four million individuals have signed up for insurance coverage under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law so far during the current open enrollment period, including 1.1 million new customers, according to data provided Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The snapshot comes as Republicans in Congress ramp up their efforts to repeal significant aspects of the 2010 health care overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). The new information, which captures enrollment data from Nov. 1 to Dec. 10, does not include the more than 700,000 individuals who signed up on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Those days were “two of the biggest days of any Open Enrollment,” CMS said in a statement. Of the 4 million total people who purchased health plans, 2.9 million were individuals who renewed coverage. (Williams, 12/14)

Solid enrollment demand is seen in California, Illinois, Tennessee and Minnesota—

California Healthline: Amid Sign-Up Surge, Covered California Extends Enrollment Deadline
Californians are signing up in higher numbers than they did last year for health plans sold on the state’s health insurance exchange, despite great uncertainty over the future of Obamacare. More than 25,000 new consumers chose new Covered California plans in just two days earlier this week, exchange officials said Wednesday. Because of the last-minute rush, Covered California officials have extended the enrollment deadline for coverage that begins January 1. Consumers now have until midnight on Dec. 17 to choose plans. Coverage purchased after this Saturday’s deadline will start either on February 1st or March 1st. (Bartolone, 12/15)

Chicago Tribune: As Obamacare Deadline Looms, Illinois Sign-Ups Still Solid Despite Uncertainty
With the deadline approaching, about 144,181 Illinois residents — including 108,238 in the Chicago area — had signed up for health insurance through the Obamacare exchange as of Sunday. Americans have until the end of Thursday to sign up for coverage that begins Jan. 1. Those who miss that cutoff can still sign up through Jan. 31, though their coverage won't begin with the new year. The numbers released by the federal government Wednesday show that Illinois residents are still interested in buying coverage through the exchange despite uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. (Schencker, 12/14)

Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Enrollment For Obamacare Surges
The number of Tennesseans enrolling in Obamacare for 2017 has nearly doubled in the past two weeks, as people rush to meet the Dec.15 deadline. Tennessee's enrollment numbers through Nov. 26 lagged national rates and those from 2015. More than 55,000 Tennesseans had then signed up for a plan on, a number that has since climbed to more than 104,666 as of Dec. 10. (McGee, 12/14)

Pioneer Press: Minnesotans Have A Day Left To Get Insurance Via MNsure
Minnesotans have just one day left to buy health insurance on MNsure if they want it to take effect Jan. 1. But the Thursday midnight deadline comes as major questions remain unresolved about MNsure’s future — and about how much some MNsure customers will have to pay for their insurance. MNsure is the state-run marketplace for people buying individual health insurance. More than 44,000 people have signed up for plans on MNsure since open enrollment started Jan. 1, double the rate seen last year. Premiums for plans on MNsure have risen significantly this year as insurers try to stanch losses stemming from an insured population that’s older and sicker than expected. (Montgomery, 12/14)

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